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Cullen changes tune on petrol prices

John Key MP National Party Finance Spokesman

12 September 2005

Cullen changes tune on petrol prices

"Michael Cullen was considering excise tax relief for motorists as recently as October," says National Party Finance spokesman John Key.

"Yet today, Dr Cullen is arguing that Labour will continue with its increased tax take on petrol, clearly showing that it doesn't care how much pressure is being put on household budgets as a result.

"One day Labour will realise it is not all about the government's budget - it is about the pressure on household budgets.

"Rising oil prices are having a considerable effect, particularly on those with low and fixed incomes. National is determined not to over-tax New Zealanders.

"The Government is continuing to make windfall profits on the back of high oil prices. National is simply returning this over-taxation to New Zealanders until we're able to implement our fair tax plan, which puts more money in the pockets of most workers.

"In October, when oil prices were at around $50 a barrel, Dr Cullen said he was keeping the issue under consideration.

"He told Parliament he was considering altering the petrol tax bill to hold off on Labour's excise tax increase," says Mr Key.

'I am considering recommending to Cabinet that the bill be altered so the increase can be deferred and brought into force by regulation should oil prices not have come down from their present high levels by April 1, 2005.' - Michael Cullen, Parliament, October 14, 2004.

Mr Key says Dr Cullen appears to have forgotten his earlier concern about oil prices.

"Less than a year ago, Dr Cullen was considering a change - today he has ruled that out, in favour of continued over taxation.

"In times of crisis responsible Governments respond. That is what National is doing," says Mr Key.

Ends

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