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Lifting Wages a Far Higher Priority than Tax Cuts

CTU MEDIA RELEASE

17 May 2006

Lifting Wages a Far Higher Priority than Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

The main income issue for workers is the need for higher wages, not tax cuts that will benefit the wealthy, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today, ahead of tomorrow's budget.

"Lifting wages and investing in health and education is of far more significance to low and middle income earners than tax cuts that deliver short term benefits to those on high incomes," said Ross Wilson. "We also agree that to the extent tax cuts are affordable it makes sense to target low to middle income families as in the $1.6 billion a year allocated through Working for Families."

"The Australian government has chosen to give high income earners large tax cuts while low and middle income workers get little," said Ross Wilson. "If New Zealand workers are looking to Australia it is because their wages are higher, not because they will get any major tax benefits."

"The CTU has supported lifting tax thresholds but tax cuts for high income earners are far less a priority than better resourcing of health and education, and investing in public services, infrastructure, support for exporters, improvements to our workplace productivity and skills development," said Ross Wilson.

"Cutting taxes inevitably means less investment in all of these areas," said Ross Wilson. "These are all things that we need to build a sustainable economy and across the board income tax cuts are a diversion from this investment strategy that is required."

ENDS

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