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John Key flip flops yet again

27 July 2008 Media Statement

John Key flip flops yet again

John Key’s complete reversal on Working for Families – a programme he has consistently attacked as middle class welfare – makes it increasingly clear he cannot be trusted to stand by his own beliefs, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

The Labour-led government’s Working for Families scheme was launched on 1 April 2005. Since its introduction, the scheme has provided tax relief to hundreds of thousands of families, and has played a crucial role in lifting 130,000 children out of poverty since Labour’s election in 1999.

John Key and National have consistently attacked the programme. When Labour expanded the programme during the 2005 election campaign, Mr Key called it the extension of the “welfare driftnet to middle-income New Zealanders."

As late as May last year, Mr Key pledged to cut Working for Families payments, saying the scheme was inflationary and was pulling workers out of the labour market. Then this morning on television Mr Key said a National government would in fact not touch the scheme at all, thus leaving yet another huge portion of Labour’s social and economic policy in place.

“John Key has railed against interest free student loans, called KiwiSaver a ‘terribly designed system’, called for cuts to superannuation, and attacked the government for buying back the rail,” Dr Cullen said. “His criticisms of Working for Families have been vehement and consistent.

“But on all these fronts Mr Key is now pledging not to change a single thing that Labour has done in office. He has not once stood by any of things he claims to believe in.

“Mr Key’s latest flip flop also confirms that National will have to borrow to pay for their tax cut plan. Without cutting Working for Families or KiwiSaver, there will be no room to pay for bigger tax cuts without taking on more debt or cutting basic services.

“John Key’s numbers are simply not adding up.”


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