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Taxing time for Dr Cullen

Bill English National Finance Spokesman

21 May 2001

Taxing time for Dr Cullen

If it's not one new tax, it's another for the Finance Minister to explain, National's Bill English said today.

"Dr Cullen may not be able to see that his spending plans are unsustainable, but his colleagues can. So they and their officials are coming up with a lot of new taxes to fund their plans.

"Helen Clark can see health cuts coming, so she proposed a health tax. Tariana Turia has launched a report advocating higher alcohol tax. Marian Hobbs' officials tried earlier this year to put taxes on videos and on advertising, and have now produced the flatulence tax. Dr Cullen's own IRD officials have come up with a $150 million retrospective tax grab relating to GST!

"I believe Dr Cullen when he says there will be no new taxes before the next election. However his colleagues can't afford to do the spending they want without new taxes eventually.

"This flood of tax proposals in the run-up to the Budget raises doubts about the credibility of the Government's commitment to keep within its spending cap, which has already been revised upwards after they blew the original cap.

"They must at least be contemplating new taxes, alongside tough spending limits for health and education, in order to have enough surpluses to back Dr Cullen's monster Superfund.

"It's disappointing that Labour is reverting to type; higher taxes and more spending. Labour had a chance to break the mould, but Dr Cullen's fiscal strategy is unravelling because he is trying to cover too many voting bases," Bill English said.


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