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Labour Must Deny Secret Health Tax Plans

Thursday 4 Jul 2002

ACT Deputy Leader and Health Spokesman Ken Shirley today called on the Prime Minister to deny that she has a secret agenda to further hike taxes through a so-called designated health tax of 8 percent if Labour is re-elected.

"I have it on very good authority that this is exactly what Helen Clark and her colleagues are planning. She has to categorically rule it out immediately - otherwise the voting public will know very clearly what sort of secret agenda Ms Clark plans for the next three years.

"I've predicted for a long time that the Government will introduce a health tax. This is just a back door way of ensuring that our taxes - already higher than our major trading partners - are even more draconian when compared with them. Such a health tax would mean those in the top tax bracket would be paying an incredible 47 percent.

"This tax would not help the problems in health. In fact it would compound them. All we would see is a greater scramble between the health providers for the perceived extra money. This would lead to even more wastage and inefficiency in the public health sector.

"The end result of this tax would be that we as a country would be worse off. There would be a drop in investment, real incomes would fall and healthcare would become even less affordable.

"We know from history that dedicated taxes don't work. The Government is being very dishonest with the people of New Zealand if it plans to introduce such a tax without any warning.

"The Government must deny these plans now so that the electorate can judge. Personally I doubt that they will," Ken Shirley said.


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