Tax to be Prime Issue During Elections

January 19, 2011 New Zealand Taxation

Spaghetti JunctionThe Labour Party is set to use tax issues as a major talking point in the 2011 New Zealand General Election, although has so far opted to remain vague on exactly what changes it will seek to instate.

On January 19th, while conducting a television interview for TVNZ Labour Party leader Phil Goff indicated that tax will be a prominent issue in the 2011 New Zealand General Election, pointing to the price of everyday items, petrol and tax rates as major issues for taxpayers.

Phil Goff chose to remain vague about the exact changes that the Labour Party would seek to instate, but he explained his general intentions. Phil Goff summarized the Party’s intentions, saying that he will work towards a “fairer tax system”. He went on to say that New Zealand taxpayers are all experiencing harsh economic pressures, with middle-income earners feeling “really squeezed”, while low-income earners are “barely keeping their nose above water”. He added that while most New Zealanders struggled, the country’s 700 taxpayers who earn more than NZD 1 million per year, were on average NZD 1000 better off under the new income tax bracket. Phil Goff promised to address this disparity, although made no committal comments regarding whether there would be a reversal of previously instated personal tax-cuts for top-earners.

When questioned on the Labour Party’s intentions for future government spending, Phil Goff gave a brisk answer, saying, “We’ll be constrained in what we spend. What we’ll be focusing on, and I think it’s really important in social policy, is making New Zealand a great place for kids to grow up.” However, he did not comment on the possibility of increased parental leave for New Zealanders.

The Labour Party leader claimed that any low results that the party might have in opinion polls will be counteracted by a number of potential coalition partners. He indicated that the party would carry out talks with the Maori Party if it was in the “interests of New Zealanders to do so”. He added that working with Winston Peters was also an option.

Photo by Chris Gin

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