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Poll: Public verdict firms on Budget measures

***ALSO: Scoop Full Coverage Budget 2007***

18 May 2007

Media Release
Public verdict firms on Budget measures
(View Poll Release in word .doc format – with graphics)

A rolling nationwide poll shows New Zealanders' verdict on the Budget is firming, with 64% support for company tax cuts and 77% support for KiwiSaver tax credits.

These are among the results of a nationally representative online poll being conducted by the independent ShapeNZ panel.

The results cover 629 respondents at 5.33am today. Results are weighted by age, gender, personal income and party vote in 2005, and are accurate to within plus or minus 2%.

The second interim snapshot shows public opinion firming:

64% agree with the move to cut the company tax rate from 33 to 30% (10% disagree, 20% neither agree nor disagree)

30% believe companies will use the tax cuts, research credits and export development assistance to invest more money in their businesses, 11% say it will be used to boost dividend payments to shareholders, and 17% say it will result in more research investment. Only 2% think businesses will use the tax cuts to reduce prices

77% support the introduction of tax credits for contributions to retirement savings through KiwiSaver (11% oppose)

60% support the policy which requires employers to match employee KiwiSaver contributions up to 4% (25% oppose, 14% neither agree nor disagree)

57% say staff are more likely to stay with an employer providing matching KiwiSaver contributions

53% say they will use KiwiSaver (17% will definitely use, 36% will probably use it) and 21% probably not and 16% definitely not.

Asked if they would prefer the Government to spend on tax credits through Kiwisaver or to cut personal income taxes instead, 50% want the money returned through personal tax cuts, 37% want the money spent on Kiwisaver tax credits, and 5% don't know. Many comment they "want a bit of both".

If asked about having a personal tax cut this year if it were to cause an interest rate rise, 32% still want a tax cut this year, 38% want a personal tax cut introduced over time and 25% would prefer no tax cut. 5% don't know.

The proposed 10c regional fuel tax to advance transport projects is opposed by 47% and supported by 39%, with13% neutral on the policy. Only 1% don't know.

On the Budget's overall impact

39% believe New Zealand will be better off, 34% say it will be the same and 18% say it will be worse off. Of the impact on their own households, 64% say it will have no effect, 8% think it will make them better off and 18% think it will make them worse off. 10% don't know. The Chief Executive of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, Peter Neilson, whose organisation operates the ShapeNZ panel, says:

"The public look as though they're prepared to take a long term view of the budget, even if they don't think it will do as much for their own households. And there are very strong ticks for KiwiSaver and company tax cuts. It probably means people think these are quite good for the country long term.

"People have quite a sophisticated position on personal tax cuts. While they would like one, if they think tax cuts would increase interest rates, one in four don't want them at all. People may not realise that regional fuel taxes can apply to every region, not just Auckland.

"As poll respondent numbers have increased there have been no significant changes in the results, so the final verdict is nearly in."

The survey remains open to the public at http://www.shapenz.org.nz

Ends

The Business Council believes sustainable businesses are profitable, contribute to social progress and ecological balance and protect New Zealand's quality of life. The Business Council's 56 members jointly employ more than 50,000 people in managing resources, manufacturing, retailing and the service sector. Members contribute annual sales of $40 billion to the economy, equivalent to 30% of GDP. The Business Council runs a national online survey panel, ShapeNZ, to allow public input on major issues. Registration is available at http://www.shapenz.org.nz

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