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.

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