In today’s post cabinet press conference the Prime Minister John Key faced a series of questions around the upcoming budget, housing supply and the likelihood of tax cuts.
The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. There were a range of questions about what shape the tax changes might take and when they would happen, but Key refused to be drawn on any specifics. He said that while a small tax cut was currently possible he saw the money currently available as being more useful invested in health and education.
The Prime Minister was also reluctant to provide any details on what the Government’s planned approach to the future of housing investment in Auckland. When asked whether central government would start to make more moves in Auckland Key said that it depended on if the Auckland Council adopted the Unitary Plan and the shape of that plan. When pressed, Key said reporters’ questions would need to “wait a couple of weeks”.
In terms of the wider debate around housing availability Key was reluctant to discuss whether it had got worse. He repeatedly said that the “perfect data” on the issue is not available.
Key is in Wellington this week and will be in France over the weekend to attend his daughter’s graduation ceremony. He will be back for the first session of the house next week on Tuesday.