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PM’s Presser - On Polls and Police

PM’s Presser - On Polls and Police

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  • Prime Minister John Key says he is confident the public are “open-minded” on GST hikes despite recent polls suggesting otherwise.

    A weekend Colmar Brunton poll found the number of New Zealanders confident about the economy had dropped nine percent since November.

    69 percent of respondents said they did not think raising GST to 15 percent was a good idea, while a UMR Research poll earlier this month found 56 percent opposed the increase even with personal tax cuts.

    But at a post-Cabinet press conference Monday Key said he did not believe he was losing popular support.

    “The proof of the pudding is always going to be in the eating, and that comes on May 20th – Budget day.

    “That’s the time where New Zealanders have an opportunity to reflect on whether the package the Government is proposing puts them in a better position.”

    Key said the polls showed the country was “open-minded” about the proposed changes and cited National’s high popularity ratings as proof of support.

    “Like any government we stand and fall on what we do in office and in the end you elect a government to make decisions and do what they believe is right.”

    Key again refused to provide details of how he would compensate taxpayers for the increase but ruled out cutting the bottom tax rate by half to 6.7 percent.

    In other news, Key condemned a recent string of attacks on police officers as “barbaric” and said the government was looking to increase penalties for crimes against officers.

    Police were attacked in three separate incidents over the weekend, with one officer’s lip bitten off by a suspected drunk-driver.

    Key said he believed tasers were a credible option for deterring assaults on officers but the attacks were still unacceptable.

    Under the current law judges may choose to consider assault on an officer as an aggravating factor in sentencing but Key said the government was looking to make this mandatory.

    Police Minister Judith Collins was expecting a report on officer assaults later this week, he said.

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