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Dr Cullen Delivers Two-Finger Salute To Business

Media Release

19 May 2005

Dr Cullen Delivers Two-Finger Salute To Business

"Despite businesspeople driving GDP growth, record employment and overfilling government coffers, Dr Cullen has given them the two-finger salute," Newmarket Business Association's General Manager Cameron Brewer said today.

"Businesspeople will be seeing red over Dr Cullen's refusal to cut tax given the State has for too long siphoned off far more than it reasonably needs. This is the richest government in the history of New Zealand sitting on a surplus of $7.4 billion yet Dr Cullen's only prepared to make some inflationary adjustments in three years time.

"Such weasel words and shuffling around at the edges don't even amount to a pat on the back. Rather, they're a slap in the face. Dr Cullen's talk about threshold adjustments appeases no one

"Business was looking for some reward in this Budget given their hard slog in recent years. The streamlining of the Fringe Benefit Tax regime and depreciation is small fry. Budget 05 was a real opportunity for Dr Cullen to give business a booster given the slowing growth projections.

"Interestingly, Labour had enough money last year to lock in the political support of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders' by increasing benefit support. However this year, when small and medium-sized enterprises naturally thought they were up for some relief, they've been told the cupboard is bare.

"Each cent off the company tax rate would have cost Dr Cullen about $200 million - not much when you consider the wananga scandal last year drained the taxpayer of $239 million. Yet this government can't bring itself to get off its politically-correct hobby-horses and make life a little fairer for business.

"With emigration to Australia up 21 percent to 31,043 in the year to March, this Budget was an opportune time for Dr Cullen to boost pay-packets at the very least by lifting the tax thresholds now.

"Despite their hard work, their increasing tax burden and cost structure, employers and employees are now also expected to make retirement savings a priority. The problem is even with government incentives, few New Zealanders have cash to put aside," said Mr Brewer.


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