National's Reaction To Budget 2008
By Pattrick Smellie
Pattrick Smellie ponders Budget 2008 in the lock-up
New Zealanders have had to wait far too long for tax cuts under Labour which are only worth the price of “a family block
of cheese”, National Party leader John Key told Parliament in the first exchange of the traditional Budget day debate.
In a speech long on derision and short on alternative policies, Key enjoyed rollicking support from his own side and a
spirited bollocking from the Government benches.
“Let’s just hope these cuts last longer the ones they announced in 2005,” said Key, referring to the so-called
“bubble-gum” tax cuts in 2005, subsequently cancelled.
The only reason Parliament was going into Urgency to pass the Budget tax cut legislation yesterday was because Finance
Minister Michael Cullen didn’t trust himself to follow through with the cuts, scheduled for 1 October this year.
The timing “wreaks of cynicism”, said Key. “Put a ring around it. October 18 will be election day.”
Based on the weekly total of $16.54 in tax cuts deliverable to anyone on the average wage, Key said New Zealanders had
had to wait for a 3000 days for tax relief equivalent to the cost of a family block of cheese
Turning to National’s plans, Key gave no sense of whether a government under his leadership would offer more in total
than the Labour package, but said that they would seek to do more than just put more money in people’s pockets.
“Our tax cuts will be about delivering the right incentives” to encourage productivity and economic growth.