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Clark & Cullen can't be trusted on tax

Bill English MP
National Party Finance Spokesman

1 October 2008

Clark & Cullen can't be trusted on tax

National Party Finance spokesman Bill English says Helen Clark and Michael Cullen have had so many different stories on tax that they can't be trusted.

In 2000 Helen Clark was saying: 'tax cuts are the promises of a visionless and bankrupt people'.

"It's hard to believe this is the same Helen Clark who has welcomed tax cuts today."

Mr English says Dr Cullen appears to have had a total economic revision.

"Today he's claiming tax cuts will strengthen the economy and promote growth, when his previous position over many, many years was that they did no such thing."

In November 1999, Dr Cullen said :'if we look across the range of developed countries there is not much to connect average tax rates with average GDP growth levels. Nor is there real evidence to connect tax cuts to growth', and that 'Labour rejects the crude approach to taxation'.

As recently as May 2006, Dr Cullen was reported as saying that tax cuts could not happen unless the country was able to maintain an operating surplus of close to 3% of GDP.

Mr English says the public will greet Labour's supposed Road to Damascus conversion with justifiable cynicism.

"Dr Cullen's recent comments that he is beyond his comfort zone most definitely put any future tax cuts planned by Labour in doubt.

"New Zealanders won't forget the 'chewing gum' tax cuts that were promised before the 2005 election but then cancelled because of Labour's overspending."

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Mr English says National has long been an advocate of placing more trust in taxpayers to make more decisions with their own money.

"Labour thinks it can spend taxes better than taxpayers."

Mr English says National will have a responsible ongoing programme of personal tax cuts as part of a wider economic plan to get the economy growing again.

"National will build on Labour's tax cuts. We will treat them as the first tranche in our tax-cut programme. That will be followed by another tranche of tax reductions on 1 April 2009, and further tranches in 2010 and 2011.

"We will be disciplined with the taxes that New Zealanders pay, and will make more effective use of existing spending, with a clear focus on the delivery of frontline services."


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