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Cullen attempts to mislead on tax - again

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader

06 Ocotber 2006

Cullen attempts to mislead on tax - again

National Party Leader Don Brash says Michael Cullen needs to do his homework on National’s tax policy.

“It’s the same tired, misleading nonsense that the Finance Minister peddled to the public before the last election. Frankly Dr Cullen, you need to change the record.”

Dr Brash is correcting Dr Cullen’s claim of a u-turn on tax policy - pointing out that National has repeatedly said its tax package would be phased in over time and that taxes would not be cut at the expense of public services.

“National’s tax package at the 2005 election was considered and it was affordable, without sacrificing services. It would have been phased in over three years.”

Dr Brash says if the public really wanted to consider who was being consistent they should take a good look at Dr Cullen.

“Dr Cullen has been steadfastly opposed to lowering taxes. But suddenly he’s embracing them. So exactly tell us again who you’re accusing of doing a u-turn?”


Extracts from Dr Brash’s previous speeches on tax

31 March 2004:

I have been upfront about my view that if New Zealand is to be a country that delivers strongly rising incomes, we need to reduce tax rates substantially. In particular, I am on record as indicating that we should aim to substantially reduce personal income tax rates in New Zealand.

This is not to say that in the current situation this can or should be achieved overnight, or in one large round of tax cutting. Longer term goals are one thing; short-term priorities quite another.

National's top priorities for tax reductions are tax relief for low-to-middle income families, and a cut in corporate tax rates to boost business investment.

... A National Government will make gradual but sustained progress in cutting personal tax rates, but there are other immediate priorities in education, in retraining for the longer-term unemployed, and in better policing of our communities, which will mean that the top tax rate can be reduced only gradually.

10 December 2004:

With the biggest budget surplus in our history, there is scope for a tax cut for all working New Zealanders.

Clearly, the scale and initial focus of such cuts will depend on the state of the economy at the time. We have no intention of triggering a lift in interest rates with too rapid a cut in taxes. I, more than most people, understand the connection between tax policy and interest rates! …

A significant reduction in the tax burden will take many years and more than one term of government. But if we slowly but consistently work to reduce taxes over time, large benefits will emerge for all New Zealanders.

... Before the next election, I will outline in detail our plan to ease the tax burden, to improve work incentives and enable people to get ahead in this country. Our focus will be on what can be achieved over a number of years, not just in year one.

We will not be sacrificing valuable public services in that goal, but we will be holding the bureaucracy accountable for every dollar spent. We believe in a strong and efficient public sector, and we will fund it accordingly.

I believe governments should budget and spend taxpayers' money as carefully as hardworking families have to do every week. That will be our benchmark for reviewing spending programmes.


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