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Brash must sack loose-cannon Connell

Brash must sack loose-cannon Connell

Labour’s candidate for Rakaia, Tony Milne, is calling on Don Brash to either back or sack his Rakaia MP and spokesman for Commerce and Revenue Brian Connell, who is pushing for a flat tax.

Mr Milne says Brian Connell is in open defiance of National's stated tax policy as he continues to publicly advocate for a 20% flat tax.

Mr Milne says Mr Connell quotes the economies of former communist, mainly East European countries that have adopted flat tax rates over the last couple of years such as Estonia, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia, Romania, and Serbia – suggesting that a 20% flat tax will not lead to massive cuts in public services.

However, Labour candidate for Rakaia, Mr Milne, has offered a stinging attack on such a suggestion, which Mr Connell this week reinforced in a letter to the editor of the Ashburton Guardian.

“Are these the kinds of countries that Don Brash’s National Party wants to emulate? Is that the National Party's aspiration for New Zealand? That is shocking,” Mr Milne said.

“No western country has introduced a flat rate of income tax,” said Mr Milne. “Flat taxes might increase revenue if they were set at a high level, or were combined with abolishing personal tax allowances or concessions. Mr Connell is not proposing either of these things: he is proposing a low flat tax rate, and there are no concessions to abolish,” said Mr Milne.

“Adopting his 20% proposal will cut revenue, and the estimated cost from Treasury is $5.5 Billion. Cutting $5.5 Billion from the Government’s budget is obviously going to lead to spending cuts. It’s not rocket science!” Mr Milne said.

“A 20% flat tax is extreme and, if it ever happened, would be deeply damaging to people in Rakaia and New Zealand. That kind of policy would lead to massive cuts in public services in every electorate in New Zealand,” said Mr Milne.

“I would like to know what Don Brash thinks of such a policy and why he hasn’t asked for Brian Connell’s resignation in his finance spokesman roles,” said Mr Milne.

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