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Helen Clark should talk tax with Aussie PM

Helen Clark should talk tax with Aussie PM

“Helen Clark should ask John Howard to give her a briefing on the benefits being passed to Australian workers from the drive to lower taxes across the Tasman,” says National Party Leader Don Brash.

“Tax cuts are on Australia’s agenda and they should be on ours too,” says Dr Brash.

John Howard is due in Wellington tomorrow for a series of official engagements that will include a meeting with Dr Brash.

Australian Treasurer Peter Costello has flagged a broad package of tax cuts in the next Australian budget, including ‘increases in thresholds, tax cuts for mature age workers’, ‘ tax cuts for new business start-ups’, and ‘tax cuts for families’.

“Helen Clark and Michael Cullen are going in the opposite direction,” Dr Brash says. “Labour has raised at least 30 taxes and levies in the past five years, and they’re presiding over a tax regime that punishes incentive.

“Now, migration statistics suggest that is beginning to take a toll.

“The latest figures show there was a worrying 18% increase in the number of permanent or long-term departures from New Zealand to Australia in 2004 after trending down over the past few years. Kiwis are voting with their feet and leaving this country in growing numbers,” says Dr Brash.

“Over the past five years, the average Kiwi household’s income, after tax and inflation, has not moved, and over the same period the gap between after-tax wages in New Zealand and Australia has grown from around $5000 to nearly $9000 annually.

“It’s worth noting that the gap has widened more quickly in recent years, up by more than a staggering 60% since Labour took office.

“This is just one of the reasons why many well-placed experts have concluded that New Zealand’s relative buoyancy has been in spite of Helen Clark’s Government rather than because of it.

“Looking down the track, there’s not much to suggest the trend is likely to change.

“According to OECD figures, Australia’s economy is forecast to grow considerably faster than our own over the next two years, and recent Treasury reports here show Australian productivity growth has been faster than New Zealand’s over the past five years.

“Labour has done nothing to close the gap or stem the flow of New Zealanders heading across the Tasman. Tax cuts would be a good place to start,” says Dr Brash.

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