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Time for Answers on Where Tax Cuts Come From: PSA

May 25, 2008
For Immediate Use

Time for Answers on Where Tax Cuts Come From: PSA

The Public Service Association is increasingly concerned about a one-sided debate about tax cuts-with little to no detail from parties about what services will be cut to pay for them.

After weeks of specifics from several parties on tax levels, the PSA today sent questions to all parties to try to foster a more balanced debate.

"The maths are clear. To pay for large tax cuts, money either needs to be borrowed or cut from public services," says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

The PSA thinks New Zealanders who want strong public services deserve a more rounded debate. Because paying for big tax cuts isn't free and New Zealand can't afford weaker public services.

"We understand the pressure that rising petrol prices and interest rates put on working families," says Brenda Pilott. "We appreciate why tax relief is welcome, but worry about high user fees and out-of-pocket costs if services that families need get cut."

"New Zealanders shouldn't be left in the dark about where new tax cuts come from," says Brenda Pilott.

Specific tax promises are now out from several parties, including Labour, National and NZ First. "But the debate isn't balanced, and leaves an impression that all the election is about is tax levels, with little about the public services people use everyday," says Brenda Pilott.

"Public services keep New Zealanders healthy, educated and safe," says Brenda Pilott. "Strong public services aren't incidental to people. They deserve more debate than they've got so far."

To help debate along the PSA has sent letters to each party leader that end with six questions. We will be publishing their unedited replies in the PSA Journal that goes to all members, and the website.

"There's a lot at stake in this election. If parties can be specific about taxes, they can be specific about other things, too," says Brenda Pilott.

She pointed to the tax package in the Government's Budget; National's pledge of tax cuts larger than $50 a week; and NZ First's suggestion of GST cuts and a tax-free income bracket.

"All we're asking is to join the debate the parties have begun, and for some talk about the service cuts that will be inevitable if there are large tax cuts," says Brenda Pilott.

We have issued the questions and the text of the letter sent to each party leader earlier today. These are contained in a separate document issued along with this release.


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