Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister of Finance
29 September 2008 Media Statement
Key in desperate bid to backtrack on tax commitment
John Key continues to make up his party's policies on the hoof, this morning totally contradicting the expectations he
and his deputy have repeatedly made on the size of personal tax cuts that would be delivered were National to win the
election, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.
"Today John Key says that National would not deliver an extra $50 a week in tax relief over and above what Labour in
government legislated for in Budget 2008."
"Mr Key now says that when he made his earlier commitments for an additional $50 a week of tax cuts he 'was not aware of
what Labour's tax cut package would look like.'
"While Mr Key's initial musing about the $50 figure was before the Budget both he and his Finance Spokesman Mr English
have subsequently reiterated this figure." [See Attached].
"It is alarming that the leader of a major party with aspirations to lead the country can take such a slap dash attitude
to absolutely fundamental economic and social issues which are so important to every family as they plan their weekly
"This sort of short-term multi position taking, depending on which audience he is in front of at any particular moment
or who he happens to be talking to, is the stance of a weak and feeble National Party leader who cannot be trusted any
where near responsible government," Dr Cullen said.
"In these challenging times for international financial markets, it is shocking that no one can rely on a single word
coming out of Mr Key's mouth. At a time when the country needs strong leadership and some policy certainty, Mr Key's
inability to stick to one line for more than one minute is letting all of New Zealand down," Dr Cullen said.
Under the Labour-led government's three phase tax cut programme, the weekly savings achieved from 1 April 2011 range
between $21.73 (for those with an annual taxable income of $20,000 or below) and $55.19 a week (for those earning
$80,000 a year and above).
National’s latest flipflop on tax cuts
29 September 2008: Dominion Post, page 1:
"Our expectations would be of a tax cut package,"Mr Key said, adding that, when he made his comment about expectations
of at least $50 a week, he was not aware of what Labour's tax cut package would look like.
[See report at http://www.stuff.co.nz/4708938a6160.html]
15 September 2008: Morning Report, Radio New Zealand National
Asked on Radio New Zealand whether cuts of that magnitude [$50] were still on the table, Mr English replied: "It will be
around those expectations.”
[See report at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1=10532375]
6 July 2008: Agenda TV
Guyon Espiner: In that range of $50 for the person on the average wage of 45 odd thousand?
Bill English: Yeah well John Key's given a pretty clear signal about that
[See transcript at http://www.agendatv.co.nz/Site/agenda/transcripts/2008/July-06.aspx]