Candidates go head-to-head
Economic growth was on the agenda as the candidates vying for election votes went head to head at the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce candidates debate.
Rotorua National MP Todd McClay, Labour candidate Ben Sandford, NZ First Rotorua List MP Fletcher Tabuteau , Green Party candidate Richard Gillies and Maori Party Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell all spoke at the debate, with Sandford promising that Labour’s focus on the regions, ‘‘the backbone of New Zealand’s economy’’, would benefit Rotorua, while Gillies said the Green Party’s plan for zero carbon emissions by 2050 would be good for the city.
‘‘Complementary with the kind of economic growth Rotorua wants,’’ he said, citing forestry and increased wood processing aims for the area.
He also said Green plans to increase benefits would have a wider spin off for the economy.
‘‘There’ll be a wide range of views in the room about that, but that money isn’t going to go into savings accounts,’’ he said.
Tabuteau said GDP figures had been inflated by immigration numbers and called for ‘‘vision around real growth’’.
He advocated shifting Government departments into the regions, ‘‘more high end people in the community, high earners in the local economy’’.
The candidates were also asked about their party’s tax plans, something Sandford conceded had generated a lot of talk around Labour.
He said they would axe secondary tax, increase Working for Families and launch a Tax Working Group to examine the entire tax system and ‘‘make sure our tax system encourages home ownership’’.
‘‘We’ll also make sure multinationals pay their fare share and we’’ll fund IRD to make sure they can do that’’.
Tabuteau promised a policy of returning GST back to the region in was earned, ‘‘one of the biggest moves in terms of tax in this country’’.
He said that policy would see $40 million a year returned back to Rotorua.
McClay took aim at the Working Group pledge from Labour and promised couples earning $55,000 would be $41 a week better off.
‘‘Labour have said they’ll scrap that and have a Tax Working Group.’’
Richard Gillies, Todd McClay, Fletcher Tabuteau, Ben Sandford and Te Ururoa Flavell.