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Key to slash Working for Families package

21 August 2007

Key to slash Working for Families package

John Key must come clean and admit thousands of New Zealand families would be worse off if the National Party was ever in government, Acting Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

The Minister is referring to various media reports where Mr Key is quoted as saying National would cut the extension to the Labour-led government's Working for Families package.

"This would mean lowering the threshold for abatement from $35,000 to $27,500 and increasing the abatement rate from 20 percent to 30 percent.

"An estimated 160,000 families would lose around $50 a week under such a policy," said Mr Maharey.

"On an income of $60,000 a year, a two child family could lose as much as $82 per week under National. The savings such cuts would generate would only provide enough funding for an across the board tax cut of $5 a week.

"This is a no-brainer - something we're getting used to from John Key and the National Party.

"Why would you cut a successful initiative which will lift 70,000 children out of poverty, put money in the pockets of some 360,000 New Zealand families with children and result in families with children earning less than $35,000 effectively paying no tax at all from 2008?

"Thanks to Working for Families, a family with two young children aged 4 and 16 working 60 hours a week on a joint income of $37,440 is better off by $211 per week. If the extension of the package was canned they would lose $48 per week. What would John Key say to this family?

"And what would John Key say to a couple with three children earning $52,000 gross a year who are better off by $246 through the Working for Families package and would lose $76 per week under National?

"Mr Key should come clean and be up front with New Zealand families. He's going to take money off them to give out in the form of underwhelming tax cuts," said Mr Maharey.

ENDS

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