Friday, April 28, 2023

National leader Christopher Luxon chats with Kerre Woodham on Newstalk ZB

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Opposition leader Christopher Luxon joined Newstalk ZB morning host Kerre Woodham in the studio for an hour of talkback.

He covered topics around tax after promising National will put more in the pockets of middle-income wage earners, the reset Three Waters and the cost of living crisis.

This week the Government revealed more details of its election year budget, saying it would be a “no frills” affair with no major tax changes.

Despite the massive repair bill from Cyclone Gabrielle, Auckland floods and ongoing cost of living crisis, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins torpeoded any suggestion that the government would be introducing new taxes.

In response Luxon said he remained sceptical of Hipkins’ promised fiscal restraint.

“Four months out from the election, Chris Hipkins has all of a sudden discovered that actually... being disciplined [when] spending taxpayer money is important. Well, it’s always been important.”

Earlier in the week the Inland Revenue Department unveiled an explosive report following an investigation into the tax rate paid by our wealthiest New Zealanders.

It found New Zealand’s ultra-rich pay tax at less than half the rate of the average person.

Luxon immediately came to the defence of New Zealand’s uber-wealthy, arguing they already paid their fair share of tax.

“It’s not the wealthy that are the problem here... this government has pumped up asset values and the wealthy have done well,” Luxon told reporters.

“The top 2 per cent of New Zealanders are paying about 26 per cent of all our income taxes and I think that is entirely fair.”

Luxon said National would deliver “middle working-class New Zealanders” a tax cut, while Labour was “softening us up for a tax grab”.

With the election less than six months away National is reaching out to its traditional support base.

Luxon has already announced co-governance and centralisation would be kicked for touch under National’s alternative policy for Three Waters reform.

The party has also unveiled a plan for education which includes primary and intermediate schools being required to teach students for at least one hour a day on each of the topics of reading, writing and maths lessons – and testing children at least twice a year in a new version of the controversial National Standards.

Yesterday the party said if elected, it would allow landlords to once again evict tenants without cause, alongside scrapping a range of other regulations it argues have decreased rental supply and pushed up prices.

National Party housing spokesman Chris Bishop said if elected, they would reverse Labour’s removal of no-cause terminations, and the provisions which see fixed-term tenancies roll into periodic tenancies in most cases. Both were introduced in 2020 under the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act.

This follows previous National commitments to restore interest deductibility for rental properties and restore the bright-line test - the period in which someone can sell a residential property without paying any tax on gains - to two years, down from 10 years under Labour.

This article was first published HERE. 

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