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Nats do not know the cost of their own policies

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Labour Party Deputy Leader
Finance Spokesperson

13 October 2008

Nats do not know the cost of their own policies

Finance Minister Michael Cullen was today surprised to learn that the man who is vying for his job doesn't even know the fiscal impact of his own party's tax policy.

Mr English, during a Radio New Zealand debate on tax policy, said that the National Party's tax package would deliver an injection into the New Zealand economy of $7 to $8 billion next year,"Dr Cullen said.

Mr English said that this was money that "at the moment [New Zealand] is not going to get.

"Mr English is trying to tell us that National's tax plan will deliver an extra $7 to $8 billion on 1 April next year into the New Zealand economy.

"This is absurd and I was very surprised to hear this announcement.

"They previously said that the impact of their tax cuts was $3.7 billion over 3 ¼ years," Dr Cullen said. "And that is before they remove the injection of $900 million for R&D tax credits from 2009.

When questioned by the Finance Minister live on-air, Mr English seemed to back track saying he wasn't sure about the numbers and would have to check.

These latest comments from Mr English follow on from his comments to the New Zealand Herald on Saturday which indicated that the current publicly available National policy on KiwiSaver could be changed if National actually forms the next government.

"I would urge Mr English to make himself clear - was this a slip of the tongue or does the National Party have deeper tax cutting plans that they are yet to tell the voters of New Zealand about?" Dr Cullen asked.


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