Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Labour Party Deputy Leader
15 October 2008 Media Statement
John Key – fast and loose with numbers last night
John Key was playing fast and loose with the facts in last night's television debate, Finance Minister Michael Cullen
"On KiwiSaver, John Key was dishonest in pretending that under National's proposals employers won't be able to pass on
the cost of the employer contribution to the employee.
That is precisely what was happening before Labour changed the law that National is now promising to repeal.
"That would mean an employee on the average full-time wage in KiwiSaver would be nearly $40 a week worse off under
"Second, Mr Key was dishonest in suggesting low income families would get National's complicated Earner Rebate. He knows
that is not true.
"In fact, low income families would be worse off under National's proposals up to a level of over $40,000 a year.
"Third, Mr Key was dishonest in suggesting that a family on $40,000 benefitting from Working for Families would lose two
thirds of any extra dollar earned under Labour, but only one third under National.
"At present the effective marginal tax rate for such a family is 53 per cent. That falls to 41 per cent under Labour's
legislated for tax policies versus 40 per cent under National's. But so far, no other Parliamentary party has expressed
support for National's proposals.
"Fourth, Mr Key claimed that the top tax rate in Australia cuts in at 'hundreds of thousands of dollars' above New
"In fact, the top tax rate of 45 per cent cuts in at $A180,001, but their second top rate of 40 per cent is still higher
than NZ's top rate, and it cuts in $A80,001. In any case, under National's policy, the top rate would cut in at ten
thousand dollars less than Labour's legislated for tax cuts.
"Finally, for Mr Key to suggest that because he headed Merrill Lynch's foreign exchange division then that fits him to
be Prime Minister in the current financial crisis – that is a little like Sweeney Todd claiming the right to be the
right person to regulate the hairdressing industry."