INDEPENDENT NEWS

The con deconstructed

Published: Sun 25 Jul 1999 02:34 PM
"Bill English's acknowledgement today that his dollar for dollar pledge is unsustainable beyond the next Parliamentary term shows what a shallow piece of politics it is," Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen said today.
The admission came on National Radio's Crosstalk programme this afternoon .
"Mr English and his colleagues know about the cost pressures associated with the ageing population and know tax cuts now will be paid for in higher taxes by the generations following the large baby boom generation. The information is contained in Treasury tables at the back of this year's budget.
"What they are doing with their election year tax bribe and their hints of a three cent cut to the top personal and corporate tax rate is knowingly and cynically ignoring the fiscal and policy implications of these demographic changes.
"Labour believes time is beginning to run out. This is why a Labour-led Government will set up a dedicated New Zealand Superannuation Fund, funded from existing taxation, to pre-fund the costs of supporting the baby boomers in their retirement.
"The long term is starting to come upon us. It is now 20 years away and by the end of the next term, it will be 16 or 17 years away," Dr Cullen said.
"We have a window of opportunity which is still partly open. But it is closing and if we don't do something, our children and grandchildren will look back upon this golden age when we were so obsessed with minor changes in tax rates and will curse us for our short term thinking.
"Mr English's tax cut offer is a con however you look at it. He calls the planned cut to the middle tax rate a "down payment." But it is only a down payment for the 17.5 percent of taxpayers who earn over $40,000 a year so would be in line for Mr English's promised later cut to the top 33c rate.
"For everyone else, it is not a down payment but a final payment and an insultingly low one at that being worth less than $5 a week to the vast majority of New Zealanders."

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