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Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen has welcomed the release of the Alliance's tax backgrounder as a useful contribution to public debate.

"I will, however, take issue with one major error of interpretation: - much weight is placed upon the fact that the Alliance sees a very high proportion of tax being levied by way of income tax.

"This seems to rely on an OECD table which shows the New Zealand proportion the highest at 60.6 percent [ with France the lowest at 17.5 percent.]

"But this excludes social security contributions which are also a form of income tax or payroll tax. If these are included, New Zealand drops from first place to 14th out of 28 OECD nations for which full information is available. The range is now from 39.3 percent in Turkey to 69.8 percent in Sweden.

"Nevertheless, it is almost certainly true to say New Zealand has one of the least progressive income tax rate structures in the developed world. This is confirmed by the OECD statistics."

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