Did Cullen leave a similar one?

In the UK Labour has been embarrassed by a note left by the outgoing Treasury chief secretary Liam Byrne gloating there was no money left. Michael Cullen may as well have penned his own note given the parlous state of the books when Labour left office here…instead National gave him a job and a knighthood.


The Coalition turned the screw on Labour over spending last night, releasing the infamous letter admitting there was ‘no money’ left at the 2010 election.  

Cabinet Office minister David Laws made public the glib note, left by outgoing Treasury chief secretary Liam Byrne for his successor.

It states: ‘Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck! Liam.’

The letter has haunted Labour, allowing Tory and Liberal Democrat ministers to prove the nation’s  coffers were empty.

On the eve of the latest round of spending cuts, the letter from former Treasury minister Liam Byrne has been pictured for the first time.

Consisting of just 18 words it offers no apology or justification for the state of the nation’s finances, only a glib ‘good luck’ to whoever was left to clear up the economic mess.

The letter, written in blue ink on government note paper, was opened by Lib Dem David Laws who became Chief Secretary to the Treasury when the coalition was formed.

Mr Laws mentioned its existence within days of taking office, claiming he assumed the envelope would offer advice on how to conduct himself in government.

But he refused to bow to calls from former Tory spin doctor Andy Coulson to release the actual letter publicly.

As he made the letter public for the first time, Mr Laws claimed he had not deliberately intended for it to be made public three years ago.

Lib Dem Mr Laws said: ‘I didn’t set out to embarrass Liam, but he left a note which frankly does sum up precisely the state of the Treasury when he left it.

‘I think it is refreshing that a Labour politician has been prepared to admit that.’


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  • motorizer

    im pretty sure when John Howard took office from Paul “tucks his pants into his undies” Keating the offices were trashed and literally ransacked, with notes left everywhere.

    • Dave

      Correct, there was no money left, Howard did a u turn on many issues they electioneer on as the cupboards were left empty. Thankfully Australians accepted the mess of Liebour, and its happening again here with the Gilliard / Swan Liebour government.

  • Changeiscoming

    The left are the same the world over. Spend, spend, spend and its all other peoples money. And as soon as they are not in charge blame the Govt for there being no money and being mean spirited for trying to control spending to get the finances back in order.

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    Bros – I just spoke to Sir Cullen. He says he left billions in surplus which the National Government spent within the first six months….How disappointing. Sir Cullen is recommending raising the income tax back again to 39% on income over 60K. He says – “Kiwis don’t mind paying a little bit extra to get free health and free education. Getting free things is enshrined in their psyche”. Long live Sir Cullen and his taxation schemes.

    • Dave

      SCS, Cullen is incorrect again, he might have left surplas funds (not billions), but National didn’t spend it.

      Rumour has it the “surplus funds” Cullen left was posted via the UN, and is now residing in Shearers US bank account.

      Show us the money Shearer, all of it!

      Acknowledgement. Thanks to SCS for the ongoing opportunity to Expose Shearers Bank account!!

    • Mr_V4

      Can you ask Sir Cullen if there are any other things we should buy back at multiples of what they are worth ala the railways.