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Brash slithers on tax

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister of Finance

6 October 2006 Media Statement

Brash slithers on tax

Don Brash's tax u-turn today proves that last year's big election tax cut bribe was nothing more than a hollow promise, designed to mislead voters, said Finance Minister Michael Cullen.

"We told the electorate the country could not afford $11 billion of tax cuts over three years. We said they were reckless. We said public services would have to be slashed.

"Now less than twelve months later Don Brash agrees, saying in a speech to the ICANZ Tax Conference today that the party was committed only to "incremental tax reform" and not big bang tax cuts.

"He goes further, saying "we will not be sacrificing valuable public services" to lower taxes. That is precisely what Labour promised.

"National now realises that voters want quality public services – the very thing that Labour has been delivering for seven years.

"If National had won the election where would we be today? Facing more debt, higher inflation, higher interest rates, a credit rating downgrade and fewer doctors, teachers, nurses and police or another National broken promise.

"Every economic expert in the country last year forecast the cyclical downturn. Don Brash as an economist should have known then that tax cuts were unaffordable.

Either Don Brash lied to the electorate or he is simply incompetent. Take your pick.

"This government is committed to prudent tax changes that are affordable and have real economic spin-offs. That's why the business tax review is looking at a mix of changes designed to increase productivity and growth.

"It's interesting that it is Don Brash slithering on tax and not John Key, the architect of the policy last year. Clearly Mr Key realises his leader is yesterday's man and doesn't want to be associated with another Brash blunder."


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