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Cash flush Labour should cut taxes

Cash flush Labour should cut taxes

Green Co-leader Rod Donald said today that Michael Cullen should slice a bit off his fat surplus and give New Zealand families two early Christmas presents in the form of income and superannuation savings tax-cuts.

Mr Donald called on the Labour Government to support his amendments to the Taxation Bill during its committee stages on Tuesday. The amendments would extend the six per cent superannuation tax-break already enjoyed by those earning more than $60,000 per year to all workers receiving employer-subsidised superannuation and also make the first $5000 of income tax free for everyone.

"I'm delighted that the Labour Government has finally agreed with the Greens to get rid of the tax penalties that were imposed on middle- and low-income employees, but I'm extremely disappointed that 'Scrooge' Cullen is refusing to support our amendments to give all workers the same break enjoyed by those earning more than $60,000 a year.

"How can this Government in all honesty continue to offer a six per cent incentive for the relatively well-off to save for their retirement, and not extend this to Labour's core voters who need it most?" he asked.

Mr Donald said the six per cent tax break on all employer contributions would cost a mere $77 million a year to help arrest a precipitous decline in the numbers of people belonging to retirement schemes. Since 1990, total membership of employer-sponsored schemes has fallen from 310,741 to 246,946.

"The Government could also make a real a difference for battling families by adopting our amendment to abolish tax on the first $5000 of income," said Mr Donald.

"This would be a great Christmas present for workers and beneficiaries. It's the least the cash-rich Labour Government should do when 30 per cent of New Zealand's children are living in poverty.

"The Green tax-cut proposal would give something to everyone while ensuring the biggest proportional gain would go to those who need it the most. It's the opposite to National's failed trickle-down 'tax cuts for the rich' policy.

"I wouldn't expect National and Act to help families, but I would be disappointed if United Future and New Zealand First don't join me to urge Labour to support these family-friendly amendments," he said.

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