4 Aug 2008

Further tax cuts in 2009 promised by National

5:03 pm on 4 August 2008

The National Party says it will introduce a new programme of tax cuts, beginning in April 2009, if it becomes government after this year's election.

Leader John Key addressed about 700 delegates on Saturday at the party's annual conference in Wellington.

He said a National government would treat tax cuts announced by the Labour-led government that are due to start in October as the first tranche of its programme.

A second tranche would be delivered in April 2009, and a third the following year.

He told delegates that National believes taxpayers should not have to wait 18 months for a second round of tax cuts, as is the plan of the Labour-led government.

"Our tax plan has been extremely well crafted," he told delegates. "It reflects the objectives that we want to be met, which is that New Zealanders get to keep more of their own money while facing the right incentives.

"It has and will be funded by National making clear choices and having a clear sense of priorities."

John Key reiterated that National would not have to borrow to fund the tax cuts.

He provided no further details about the party's tax plan, saying voters will have to wait the election campaign to hear the full details of National's policy.

New Zealand's 'growth problem'

National's finance spokesperson, Bill English, told the conference the party would get the economy "back on track" by cutting taxes, reducing government spending, cutting red tape, introducing national education standards and improving infrastructure.

He says government debt levels are among the lowest in the OECD, but New Zealand's productivity is among the worst.

Mr English says, in contrast to the Labour-led government's approach, National would use more long-term debt to build long-term infrastructure. He says New Zealand doesn't have a debt problem, it has a growth problem.

Cullen derides National's plans

Finance Minister Michael Cullen says those on low incomes are likely to be worse off under National's tax plan.

Dr Cullen says the tax cut programme outlined in this year's Budget leaves no room for more substantial cuts, unless it is funded by more borrowing or spending cuts. He says it is likely National would have to borrow more to pay for tax cuts.