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Release the Treasury advice on surpluses

Bill English MP
National Party Finance Spokesman

7 November 2007

Release the Treasury advice on surpluses

National Party Finance spokesman Bill English says Helen Clark should release the advice Labour received in ‘recent weeks’ saying the surpluses were structural, rather than ‘one-offs’.

“The Prime Minister has used this advice to claim tax cuts will be affordable in election year, and that it was the first time Labour had received that sort of advice.

“It’s not good enough for Labour to say wait for the next set of Government accounts. Helen Clark is saying Treasury has provided separate advice ‘in recent weeks’ and she should make that available”

In recent days, National has provided examples dating back several years, when Treasury advocated lowering taxes.

Treasury told Michael Cullen in 2003 that: ‘This healthy fiscal position presents the Government with scope to cut taxes, increase expenditure, and build up financial assets’.

“But the Prime Minister repeated in Parliament yesterday her claim that the advice about structural surpluses had only recently come to light. She should make that material public.”

Mr English says it will be an interesting exercise to compare the advice received in recent weeks, with the advice previously offered by Treasury.

“The reality is that Labour has resisted making tax cuts at every step – just this year they finally cancelled the ‘chewing gum’ tax cuts promised in election year 2005.

“And in preparing his Budget for 2007, Michael Cullen even told his colleagues that Labour would be required to continue overtaxing New Zealanders through bracket creep, to pay for its record spending promises.

“If that situation has changed, Dr Cullen should provide that advice.”

Ends

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