Tax cut car­rot given an­other push by PM

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - STACEY KIRK

Prime Min­is­ter Bill English has given his clear­est in­di­ca­tion yet that New Zealan­ders will be left with more money in their pock­ets come Bud­get day, but has drawn short of sug­gest­ing a dol­lar amount.

His com­ments came as Labour con­firmed it would not raise taxes if it be­came the Gov­ern­ment, while ally the Green Party said it was re­view­ing its 2014 tax pol­icy, which would have seen most get a tax cut but those earn­ing more than $140,000 get taxed at 40 per cent.

‘‘Tax cuts are on the ta­ble. We will look at these in the con­text of these other de­mands, such as the growth in pop­u­la­tion and the need for in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port a grow­ing econ­omy,’’ English said on RNZ’s Morn­ing Re­port.

Lower and mid­dle in­come earn­ers were the Gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­ity.

Asked if he was hop­ing to give those earn­ers more than $20-$30 per week, English said tax cuts weren’t ‘‘some kind of sugar shot’’.

Any tax cuts were likely to be paired with a pol­icy that would see eas­ier or wider ac­cess to es­sen­tial pub­lic ser­vices, as part of an over­all fam­i­lies pack­age.

‘‘[The point] is that over time, if you’ve got a grow­ing econ­omy and sur­pluses, then you can - through a va­ri­ety of mech­a­nisms - sup­port house­holds and lift in­comes.’’

But even if tax cuts were an­nounced in the May Bud­get, Na­tional would likely need to be re-elected for them to take af­fect.

‘‘Most mea­sures that you bring in, to do with house­hold in­comes, would fol­low the usual cy­cle, which is if they’re an­nounced this year, they’d start April 1, next year,’’ English said.

The Gov­ern­ment was meet­ing pres­sures on in­fra­struc­ture that came with pop­u­la­tion growth.

‘‘We’re keep­ing up as much as fea­si­ble really, with the in­fra­struc­ture re­quire­ments, right across our pub­lic ser­vices. And when we have sur­pluses, we do have some real choices.’’

He would not be drawn on what the po­ten­tial cost might be for a tax cut pack­age.

‘‘That’s yet to be seen - there’s eco­nomic fore­cast­ing go­ing on now about how the econ­omy’s go­ing to grow.

‘‘There’s these is­sues around what growth pres­sures there are, right across our pub­lic ser­vices - the need for long-term in­fra­struc­ture, the need to get our debt down.’’

Prime Min­is­ter Bill English has shored up the like­li­hood of a prom­ise of tax cuts ahead of the elec­tion.

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