INDEPENDENT NEWS

Slippery Shipley shoots dollar-for-dollar Bill

Published: Wed 3 Nov 1999 11:40 AM
"Jenny Shipley's sudden rewrite of National's tax policy has exposed Treasurer Bill English's dollar-for-dollar tax-and-spend promise as a shabby con trick," says Labour's finance spokesperson Michael Cullen.
"Mr English told the National Party conference in July that his party would match every dollar in future tax cuts with a dollar of extra social spending.
"New Zealanders understood that to mean the social spending would be new money for vital public services like health and education.
"Now we find out it means nothing of the sort. Mr English's 'new social spending' is mostly just the extra money required for welfare spending as beneficiary numbers and costs grow.
"Dollar-for-dollar Bill has been exposed as a snake oil salesman with as little credibility as Jenny 'I-made-it-up' Shipley. He is talking himself into a post-election job as a consultant to Nigerian miracle investment schemes.
Mr English told Kim Hill on National Radio this morning: "What we've done to be prudent about this is that the projections that have been published when the books were opened already include the social spending. So we already provided for something close to a $3 billion increase in Government spending. Not all of that's social but a big proportion of it is, as is the case with Government activity. So we've already provided for social spending significantly in excess of tax reductions that are being discussed now."
BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander commented: "It's interesting the change in this one-to-one ratio. Previously we thought it was if they give tax cuts for every one dollar cut there you get this increased social spending. Now we learn that really it's just talking about the normal inflation and beneficiary number adjustment."
"Mr Alexander is right," Dr Cullen says. "Except that the dishonesty of the dollar-for-dollar promise is not just interesting, it's appalling."

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