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Copeland battles for taxpayers

Copeland battles for taxpayers

United Future’s spokesman on revenue, Gordon Copeland, is alarmed at the Government’s failure to adjust for inflation the income band levels for personal taxation.

The present bands, established on 1 April 2000, are 19.5 cents up to $38,000, 33 cents up to $60,000 and 39 cents over $60,000. They cannot now be adjusted until 1 April 2003.

Mr Copeland grilled Finance Minister Michael Cullen on the issue at this week’s meeting of Parliament’s finance and expenditure select committee.

“Because of the Government’s failure to adjust the bands,” Mr Copeland said, “many thousands of New Zealanders have and will continue to pay a higher rate of personal income tax even though the Government, via its pledge card, promised no tax increases.

“This is wrong in principle. Unless the bands are adjusted each year for inflation, then the reality is that the Government is using a fiscal sleight-of-hand to dip more deeply into the taxpayers’ pockets and it should simply stop doing that.

“Inflation during that time will be approximately 9% so that if the Government pledge is to be honoured the bands need to move to $41,420 and $65,400 on 1 April 2003.”

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