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Conning Cunliffe needs to explain himself

Hon Steven Joyce
Minister for Economic Development

28 January 2014

Conning Cunliffe needs to explain himself

Labour Leader David Cunliffe needs to explain why he has tried to con the New Zealand public and front up about where the money would come from for his planned big spend-up, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“Mr Cunliffe has been deliberately pulling the wool over the eyes of the New Zealand public by cancelling two Labour policies last week and saying that gives him $1.5 billion a year to spend,” Mr Joyce says.

“His press release of 22 January specifically states: ‘This decision frees up around $1.5 billion per annum’.

“Then yesterday, in attempting to say where the money would come from, he said: ‘Labour has recently confirmed we will no longer be proceeding with a Tax Free Zone or the GST exemption for fresh fruit and vegetables. This decision will save around $1.5 billion per year. The Best Start package will cost significantly less than this’.

“The only problem is he is completely wrong on both counts.

“There is no GST off fruit and veges in the country’s books to save, and no tax-free threshold to take out, so cancelling them doesn’t save anything.

“There are only two possibilities here: Mr Cunliffe is either deliberately trying to pull the wool over New Zealanders’ eyes; or he doesn’t understand the most basic accounting.

“Late yesterday he started to advance the possibility that other things could pay for it. The short answer is he has no idea.

“The country has rightly become very cynical about Labour’s big spending habits, and has spent five years digging out of them.

“Mr Cunliffe needs to be straight-up about spending taxpayers’ money.”

ENDS

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