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Cullen's true stance on tax cuts revealed

Hon Bill English MP National Party Finance Spokesman

11 November 2007

Cullen's true stance on tax cuts revealed

Michael Cullen has sowed further doubts on Labour's promised tax cuts today when he made it clear he believes there is no good reason to give New Zealanders more of their own money back, says National's Finance spokesman, Bill English.

"He told the Agenda programme, that tax cuts won't make a big impact and the economic argument for tax cuts isn't 'as strong as many people make out because whether the changes are changes to rates or thresholds they're not big'.

"Michael Cullen said he doesn't believe tax cuts would address the disparity between the take-home pay of Australians and New Zealanders, and that they wouldn't 'make a huge difference...fundamentally we would have to have zero income tax to really get close to closing that gap'.

"It is becoming increasingly apparent that the Finance Minister does not believe in, and never has been a proponent of, tax cuts. His strings are clearly being pulled by the Prime Minister who, herself, has conveniently become a tax cut convert a year out from a general election.

"Michael Cullen's record speaks for itself. It was he who said in 1999 that 'voters are not fools. Dangle promises of tax cuts in front of them in an election year and they will think you are trying to buy their vote'.

"Earlier this year, he cancelled the tax cuts Labour promised at the 2005 election.

"But he put on the record in Parliament last week, the reasons why tax cuts are now affordable.

"Michael Cullen has gone from being a tax cut sceptic to a tax cut believer to a tax cut denier.

"His schizophrenic attitude towards this issue must be confusing his own caucus, let alone the public, who must now see that his short-lived love affair with tax cuts was driven by election-year expedience."

ENDS

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