Please, anything but Jim

  • Bill Birch

Michael Cullen and Helen Clark have different views on the attractiveness of Jim Anderton, Finance Minister Sir William Birch said today.

Dr Cullen plans to recombine the roles of Treasurer and Minister of Finance so Mr Anderton won't be close to the economic decision-making.

Unfortunately for him, Ms Clark has said Jim Anderton's going to be her deputy Prime Minister if they can get into government.

Sir William said he could understand Dr Cullen not wanting to work with Mr Anderton. But putting him off in a portfolio like Economic Development or Commerce still had a hidden cost like all of Labour's policies.

"Businesses will suffer. Mr Anderton as Minister of Commerce wouldn't be able to stop himself meddling in the day-to-day operation of many industries and sectors.

"Dr Cullen's prepared to sacrifice the business community in order to keep Mr Anderton out of his way.

That's too high a price to pay.

"The people out there working hard in small and medium sized businesses need less meddling from Government, not more.

"We can't afford to burden them with Jim Anderton and expect the economy to prosper."