• Winston Peters
Deputy Prime Minister

Labour's refusal to join a broad-based Savings Accord shows that they are stuck in the past with no idea about the issues facing New Zealand, New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters said today.

"For Michael Cullen to dismiss the idea of a Savings Accord, and then say that they will not rejoin the Superannuation Accord unless New Zealand First does is just bizarre, and I suspect a clumsy attempt at blackmail.

"The fact is that New Zealand First knew from the outset that the Super Accord would be a disaster and that is why we never considered joining it.

We have been proven right. After three years of talking, it has got nowhere, while New Zealand First has taken action, including holding a referendum on savings and abolishing the super surcharge.

"For Dr Cullen to turn around now and say that Labour will not take part in any multi-party talks which "have as their object the introduction of an income or assets test" shows quite extraordinary guile, given that Labour introduced the superannuation surcharge.

Where was Cullen when the 1984 - 90 Labour Government discussed introducing this measure - behind the Caucus door?. It must have been fairly crowded behind there, what with Clark, Goff and King also hiding from the decision that Government made to refuse dignity to those in retirement," Mr Peters said.

"The issue of savings is broader than just one revolving around superannuation, although this is a very important aspect of it.

"It is a shame Labour refuse to move with the times and join in a Savings Accord which would ultimately benefit all New Zealanders."

Mr Peters said he was still awaiting responses from other parliamentary parties on his Savings Accord idea, but was confident that those who wanted to work in the interests of New Zealanders would support the concept.