National: National Party scraps tax cut policy
10:30 am on 4 August 2022
The National Party has quietly scrapped its tax policy after criticism from Labour, ACT, and the Greens.
National's proposed tax policy pitched as a suggestion for the government in Budget 2022 would have seen tax thresholds lifted in line with inflation.
MPs across parliament, including ACT leader David Seymour, have argued that cutting taxes whilst increasing spending would be inflationary.
Green Party Finance spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter agreed National's proposed tax cuts would be inflationary.
"The National Party tax cuts are inflationary and are targeted at the richest New Zealanders. What we actually need right now is greater support for those on the lowest incomes and to pay for it with a wealth tax."
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said that National's spending plan could be inflationary well beyond the extent of any targeted or temporary spending measures taken by the government.
"If they are promising to reduce debt, increase spending, and cut taxes, they are in their Bermuda Triangle."
The proposed tax cuts were referenced as recently as yesterday by National leader Christopher Luxon, telling RNZ that it would have been the most "simple and elegant" way to deal with rising living costs.
National has denied the policy being inflationary, but Finance Spokesperson Nicole Willis says the party will have a new tax plan for the next election.
"What we said was in this budget, the government had room to add inflation adjusted tax thresholds. We think that would have been the right thing to do."
"As we shape our tax policy for the future, New Zealanders can expect to see a package that really focuses on the squeezed middle of New Zealanders who we know are struggling to get ahead, and the shape of that package will be determined next year."
In a press release, Labour MP Chris Hipkins suggested National was in chaos and accused the party of internal division.
"This was Chris Luxon's first policy as National Party leader, and now his deputy Nicola Willis has dumped it six months later. It's the sort of disarray we got used to in the days of Bridges, Muller and Collins," Hipkins said."
"This has got internal division written all over it. Luxon was selling his State of the Nation policy as recently as yesterday in his media round, seemingly unaware Nicola Willis had already spoken to journalists about scrapping it prior to him going on air."
Public interest journalism funded through NZ on Air.