Taxing New Zealanders: National pledges austerity, warns of Labor hikes


National deputy Nicola Willis has sought to allay any doubts about her tax plan by telling members that the party will provide as much relief as it can “responsibly”.

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The opposition party has kicked off its annual conference at Christchurch’s convention center after several days of back and forth over its tax policy.

Leader Christopher Luxon previously welcomed supporters with a speech that focused mainly on his background and values ​​- a reminder that he took the top job just eight months ago.

Willis, who is also the party’s financial spokesperson, told the public that New Zealand was facing “the most challenging economic conditions” many of them would have ever experienced.

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“We hear the pleas of struggling Kiwis and we say ‘National is behind you’.”

She said the party is committed to indexing tax thresholds for inflation during its first term in office and will outline more details in 2023.

“Our vision is to go even further. National is committed to providing as much tax relief to working New Zealanders as we can responsibly.”

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Willis reiterated the party’s pledge to scrap Labor’s new taxes, including the top 39 percent tax rate on income over $180,000.

She also promised to reduce the interest deduction for rental properties and to roll back the 10-year extension of the Brightline test.

Willis accused Labor of inventing new ways to introduce more taxes on New Zealanders.

“Mark my words, Labor will put a capital gains tax back on the table. The name may change, it may be disguised, but it’s coming.”

Labor seized a report earlier this week claiming National had parked its tax policy and used it to question the opposition’s credibility and trustworthiness.

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Willis said New Zealanders are being impacted by the economic response to Covid-19.

“At the same time, we had our Secretary of the Treasury step on the accelerator as our Reserve Bank reached for overdrive.

“No car can go that fast without a moment of reckoning, and no economy can either.”

Party members moaned loudly as Willis listed some of the government’s expensive projects, including three water reforms and the TVNZ-RNZ merger.



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