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Labour's threat to Herald Mugabe-style government

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader
16 August 2006

Labour’s threat to Herald Mugabe-style government

Finance Minister Michael Cullen’s threat to the New Zealand Herald’s owner after the paper dared to disagree with Labour over the pledge card rort is unacceptable in a democracy, says National Party Leader Don Brash.

In a statement last night, Dr Cullen suggested the Government would withdraw support for a tax bill that forgives Herald owner APN a $219 million GST liability which some legal interpretations suggest might be payable following a transaction in 2001.

Dr Cullen even suggested that the amount of tax involved would ‘pay for a very large number of elective operations’.

“I am disgusted by this behaviour, which is typical of a Robert Mugabe-style regime. I want to know if the Prime Minister signed off on this statement,” says Dr Brash.

“Does she support her Finance Minister making threats to taxpayers who disagree with Labour? If she does, then she is unfit to govern.”

“It doesn’t matter if Labour disagrees with the Herald or not. All media outlets have the right in a free country to express their opinion free from threats.

“There are either good arguments for this tax legislation, or there aren’t. It is irrelevant if the taxpayer happens to own a newspaper that disagrees with Labour’s line on something.

“Threatening a taxpayer like this is simply unacceptable – no matter who it is.”

ENDS

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