INDEPENDENT NEWS

Nats scare-mongering gets more desperate

Published: Wed 22 Sep 1999 02:41 PM
"National has scaled new heights of silliness and shown a complete failure to understand the dynamics of MMP in its latest attempt to run a scare campaign against Labour on tax," Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen said today.
Dr Cullen was responding to claims by Bill English, Max Bradford and Roger Sowry that Labour is actively considering the Alliance's proposed tax on the unimproved value of commercial land.
"It should be remembered that it was the last Labour Government which in 1990 removed this tax on the grounds that it was difficult to administer and unfair to small business. Our view has not changed.
"But if the Alliance wants to revisit the issue, they will be able to make a submission to that effect to our planned comprehensive review of the taxation system.
"We have already made clear that any recommendations for significant new taxes to emerge from that review will not be implemented without the electorate first having an opportunity to vote on them in the 2002 general election," Dr Cullen said.
"However all this is beside the point. What is really going on here is that Mr English, Mr Bradford and Mr Sowry are ignoring the realities of MMP - or pretending that these realities apply only to Labour and the Alliance and not with equal force to National and Act.
"The Alliance has a much more optimistic view than Labour on how much extra tax New Zealanders are prepared to pay just as Act takes a different view to National on the cuts to social services people would be prepared to trade away for lower taxes.
"Rodney Hide recommitted Act this week to cutting the top personal and company tax rate to 20 percent. That would cost billions of dollars in lost revenue, and require larger cuts to social spending than even most National MPs could stomach.
"For these reasons, National and Act will go into the election campaign with different tax policies just as Labour and the Alliance will. Each party's ability to argue their position in coalition negotiations post-election will depend on the size of the mandate they get from the public," Dr Cullen said.

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