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Key and English not taking challenges seriously

27 March 2008 Media Statement

Key and English not taking challenges seriously

The ‘whatever it takes to win’ attitude on tax from John Key and Bill English shows they are still not taking New Zealand’s economic challenges seriously, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

After years of deceptively using the headline operating surplus as cover for their reckless tax cut plans, National is now claiming their large tax cuts will be funded by firing bureaucrats – just weeks after claiming they wouldn’t fire any.

“The Labour-led government will announce personal tax cuts in May’s Budget,” Dr Cullen said. “The tax cut programme and the overall Budget will take our economic challenges seriously.

“The National Party has shown that their judgement on the economy can still not be trusted. They can’t bring themselves to admit that ‘out tax cutting’ Labour will mean they will have to cut services or increase our debt levels.

“Mr Key’s new tactic is to link his plan to cap the number of bureaucrats to his ability to offer large tax cuts. Even this new slippery tactic is a moving feast.

“When Mr Key launched his ‘policy’ he said it could be expected to deliver ‘up to’ $500 million in savings. Yesterday when he was under pressure to explain how he could outspend Labour without making cuts or borrowing, he said the bureaucrat cap policy would deliver ‘at least’ $500 million through natural attrition.

“Is Mr Key seriously proposing announcing a tax cut package that is funded against a hard target of cutting government spending? If he is, he didn’t tell us the truth in his speech two weeks ago.

“New Zealanders are facing real pressure – global food and energy costs are squeezing household budgets and the credit crunch is leading to higher mortgage rates. They have a right to expect honesty on the economy from their politicians, not slippery slogans about sacking bureaucrats to fund tax cuts.”


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