It’s very surprising that Labour’s fiscal plan came out yesterday with absolutely no mention of their proposal to lift the amount of paid parental leave, National Party Campaign Chair Steven Joyce says.
“Our team has been through the numbers at length, and despite a desire to increase government spending by a massive $31 billion over the next four years, there is no mention of any money earmarked for more paid parental leave,” Mr Joyce says.
“Given how enthusiastic Labour has been about it, and how negative they were about National’s announcement yesterday – surely there must be some money put aside?
“Labour said on social media that they had hidden it in their families package, but there is no money identified in the cost calculations for that package.
“The only mention of paid parental leave was when a bullet point referring to it was added to their webpage online yesterday afternoon once it was raised with them.
“It can’t be in the new budget allowance because there is virtually nothing set aside for the next three years as there is.
“Maybe Grant Robertson and BERL have it stashed away somewhere and they might be able to point it out. Or perhaps they could get a working group together to find it. In the meantime it seems it’s the case of the missing paid parental leave.”
Labour is once again proving they’re the same old Labour Party with plans for big increases in both government spending and debt over the next four years, National Party Campaign Chair Steven Joyce says.
“In their fiscal plan released this morning, Labour has committed to $13.7 billion in additional spending over the next four years funded by cancelling tax changes for Kiwi families and increasing debt,” Mr Joyce says.
“This nearly doubles the additional expenditure of $17 billion over four years already allowed for in the pre-election fiscal update. All up Labour is proposing to add more than $30 billion in new operating spending over the next four years. And then there’s additional capital spending as well.
“All this flows through into increased debt. Again by their own numbers, Labour will increase debt by $11 billion over four years compared with the pre-election fiscal update. This is not the stage of the economic cycle to be increasing debt. We should be reducing debt and putting money aside for the next rainy day.
“Labour’s tertiary policy announced today alone has an additional $3.4 billion over four years in expenditure in just one announcement.
“And the ink had hardly dried on their fiscal plan when they made another commitment to fund 26 weeks paid parental leave, which isn’t listed anywhere in the document.
“Labour also has some questions to answer about how their numbers add together. For example, their remaining annual operating allowances don’t seem to be cumulative.
“Big increases in expenditure and debt can only flow through into higher interest rates, and that would be bad for Kiwi businesses and homeowners. That’s before you even get in to Labour’s extra taxes.
“We need to keep the country moving in the right direction and Labour’s approach to spending and debt would only slow the country down and put up costs for consumers.”
Another day on the campaign trail and the Labour Party has announced yet another tax, National Party Campaign Chair Steven Joyce says.
“Today we have more evidence that Labour would make a big change in economic direction that would slow down the New Zealand economy,” Mr Joyce says.
“Labour’s new tourism tax is on top of their regional fuel tax, their water tax, their capital gains tax, and their plan to cancel the tax threshold changes. That’s five more taxes before we even get to sugar tax and land taxes.
“The great irony is that you don’t need to add more taxes if you run the economy well and get back into surplus. And new taxes only slow the economy down.
“National has allocated $102 million for new tourism infrastructure in Budget 2017 without adding a new tax - which is four years of the amount Labour are saying they would allocate.
“We’ve also added $76 million for conservation infrastructure without going to a new tax.
“And once again Labour are very light on the details. They say it would be linked to the Border Clearance Levy but that’s paid by everyone that crosses the border. Will they need to set up another bureaucracy to identify the visitors from everyone else? Or maybe a working group to work it out?”
“New Zealand’s tourism industry operates in a competitive world environment. We are just 0.3 per cent of world tourism so we need to be careful about our cost structure. Already the latest international survey says visitors see us as a high-cost destination.
“New Zealand is heading in the right direction. Five new taxes can only slow our economy down just when we are making good progress. We need to keep the country moving forward so we can keep delivering for all New Zealanders.”
The Labour Party’s announcement on GP visits is just another “me too” idea following on from their Dunedin Hospital announcement yesterday, National Party Campaign Chair Steven Joyce says.
“They have literally copied National’s announcement from last week targeting low income New Zealanders, and tacked on a $10 universal subsidy over the top,” Mr Joyce says. “That’s the level of thought they’ve put in.
“Targeting low-income New Zealanders is a good idea, which is why we announced it. But for every other New Zealander, it’s a poor exchange.
“Labour would take $26 a week off New Zealand families by cancelling the Family Incomes package, and give them back $10 for a doctor’s visit.
“If Labour committed to National’s Family Incomes Package, families would put some of the money towards a doctor’s visit one week, and something else they need the next week. Why can’t they trust people to take more of their own decisions?
“Labour acknowledges how little work they have put in to this proposal by immediately saying they would review it if and when they get into government.
“However it’s amazing that they propose to spend over $1 billion in four years on a policy and then set up another working group to look at it.
“Once again, it’s a policy done on the fly, proving again we are all dealing with the same old Labour Party.”
National’s latest campaign ad lays out the clear choice facing New Zealanders in this election, Campaign Chair Steven Joyce says.
‘Delivering for New Zealand’ builds on National’s first ad ‘Let’s Get Together’, and the successful rowing team ads from the previous election.“New Zealand is making great progress and has some huge opportunities over the next three years,” Mr Joyce says.
“National’s vision is to build a stronger economy that can deliver more for New Zealanders.
“We can keep the country moving forward with Bill English and his strong National team, or change to an unstable group of left-leaning parties with unclear policies that would set back the progress our families and businesses are making.
“By working together, we are lifting family incomes, making record investments in the infrastructure our growing country needs, and improving public services like healthcare and education.
“Only a Party Vote for National will keep a strong, National-led Government focused on a consistent plan to keep growing the economy and delivering more for all New Zealanders.”
The new ad is available at: https://www.national.org.nz/forward
The National Party will commit to implementing a further Family Incomes Package in the next term of government, subject to certain fiscal conditions being met.
“Our strong economy means the Budget 2017 Family Incomes Package will provide a positive boost to after-tax family incomes on 1 April of next year,” Finance Spokesperson Steven Joyce says.
“We are committed to delivering more for New Zealand families in the next term of government, subject to maintaining our strong plan which is allowing New Zealand companies to compete and succeed on the world stage.”
“The best indications from today’s PREFU announcement is that a similar sized Family Incomes Package to the current one would be possible from 2020, unless the economy performs better than expected,” Mr Joyce says.
The first Family Incomes Package will deliver an average of $26 a week to 1.34 million working families from 1 April 2018 through a combination of tax threshold changes, increases in Working for Families tax credits, and increases in the Accommodation Supplement. The Package will also provide an additional $13 a week per couple for 750,000 superannuitants.
Mr Joyce laid out a number of key conditions to be met for a second Family Incomes Package to proceed. These are:
- Maintaining the Government’s debt targets of reducing net debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020 and 10-15 per cent of GDP by 2025
- Meeting the Government’s spending commitments and forecasts for building infrastructure and improving public services laid out in Budget 2017.
- Funding any Family Incomes Package from cash surpluses and not from additional borrowings
The Pre-election Fiscal Update showed that cash surpluses beyond current and future budget spending commitments would commence from the 2020 financial year.
Mr Joyce says that a second Family Incomes Package would have a similar emphasis to the first package that commences 1 April next year.
“We would want to focus particularly on lifting the incomes of low to middle income families, look to simplify further the tax and transfer system so people can more easily see the link between their work and their earnings, and continue to lift the lower tax thresholds as incomes grow,” Mr Joyce says.
“The average wage is predicted to grow from $58,900 at March 2017 to $65,700 over the next four years. It is very important that we aren’t taxing middle income earners at 30 cents in the dollar. ”
“National has shown it can lift incomes and invest in public services and infrastructure. Under our responsible programme we can continue to do both.”
Mr Joyce said that the ability to have an ongoing conversation about boosting family incomes is only possible because of New Zealand’s strong and growing economy.
“Whether it’s investing in better public services, investing in infrastructure, or boosting family incomes, every budget initiative is only possible because our small and medium-sized businesses operate in an economy that allows them to compete successfully on the world stage.
“It’s crucially important that keep encouraging them to compete and succeed and not weigh them down with poorly thought through new taxes and polices that would stall the economy and stunt growth,” Mr Joyce says.
A slightly softer growth forecast is the main feature of largely unchanged Pre-election Fiscal Update compared to the Budget forecasts three months ago, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says.
“The softer growth New Zealand has experienced in the six months to March flows through to a lower starting point in the 2017/2018 year,” Mr Joyce says.
“The net effect is that growth is slightly lower through the forecast period – averaging 3.0 per cent over the next four years rather than the 3.1 per cent predicted in the Budget.
“The other notable change is that Treasury expects the labour market to be tighter over the next four years, with lower unemployment and stronger nominal and real wage growth.
“Treasury forecasts unemployment to drop to 4.3 per cent by June 2020 and for the average annual wage to increase from $58,900 at March 2017 to $65,700 by 2021, a $1300 per annum improvement on the Budget forecast.”
Other changes to the forecasts include:A smaller balance of payments deficit across the forecast horizon Lower CPI inflation, especially in the 2017/18 year Net government debt falling below 20 per cent of GDP in the 2020/21 year. New Zealand Superannuation Fund contributions remain scheduled to resume in that year.
Most other elements of the forecast remain very similar to budget predictions, with nominal GDP, migration levels and budget surpluses largely unchanged, although the timing of budget surpluses has changed.
“The Budget surplus is expected to be $2.1 billion higher in the year just finished,” Mr Joyce says. “However Treasury expects the lower growth forecast to result in surpluses that are $1.8 billion lower over the next four years. The net effect is about even.
“The Government’s strong fiscal management means that New Zealand is one of the few OECD countries to be posting fiscal surpluses. This hard-won position is underpinning the Government’s strong economic plan which is delivering jobs and steady real wage growth for New Zealanders.”
The large infrastructure spend committed to in Budget 2017 means that residual cash remains broadly in balance until the 2019/20 financial year.
“There is limited room for any additional expenditure beyond what is already proposed in these forecasts until the 2020 financial year when there is expected to be a $1.7 billion cash surplus. Anything significant in the meantime would involve more borrowing or raising additional tax revenues,” Mr Joyce says.
The PREFU forecasts include the following budget spending commitments:
• $7 billion in additional operating expenditure over four years in Budget
2017 which commenced on 1 July 2017.
• $1.7 billion per annum ($6.8 billion over four years) operating
allowance to be allocated for Budget 2018, increasing by 2 per cent
each subsequent budget.
• $32.5 billion in total capital infrastructure investment between 1 July
2018 and 30 June 2021.
• $6.5 billion over four years ($2 billion per annum in out years) for the
Government’s Family Incomes package commencing on 1 April 2018.
“Government annual operating expenditure in these forecasts increases from $77 billion to $90 billion over the next four years, which is sufficient for significant ongoing improvement in the provision of public services,” Mr Joyce says.
Labour’s true tax agenda is starting to appear with comments by senior Labour MPs Phil Twyford and David Parker in the last eighteen hours, National Party Campaign Chair Steven Joyce says.
“This morning on TV3’s ‘The Nation’ programme Labour’s Housing Spokesperson Mr Twyford once again refused to answer whether Labour would introduce a comprehensive capital gains tax in the next three years if elected. However he spent some time saying how much they really wanted to,” Mr Joyce says.
“He also gave a sense of the scale of it – saying Labour wanted to use a capital gains tax to reduce house price to income ratios to about three to four – which would mean a halving of Auckland house prices.
“That would take a punitive capital gains tax and a massive increase in interest rates. It would be massively disruptive to the New Zealand economy.
“Mr Twyford’s language is the same as the Greens’ on housing last year with their talk of cutting house prices in half.
“Meanwhile last night Water Spokesperson David Parker was threatening farmers at a meeting in Ashburton with a much higher water tax rate if they didn’t toe the line.
“A number of people at the meeting reported Parker saying ‘don’t push us on the numbers or we will take the tax higher’ and ‘I’m not here to negotiate – don’t push me’ or it will be doubled.
“And it’s apparent this threat was not a one-off – with another group reporting the same threat being made by Parker earlier last week.”
“A regional fuel tax, a massive capital gains tax, and a bullying water tax,” Mr Joyce says.
“It’s becoming clearer why Labour wants to hide its true tax plans.
“They need to be upfront with New Zealanders on tax.”
The Labour Party is once again being shifty on tax, and needs to come clean with voters on its policy on capital gains tax and land tax before the election, National Party Campaign Chair Steven Joyce says.
“This morning Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern refused to rule out introducing a Capital Gains Tax during the next three years if elected,” Mr Joyce says.
“She said she wouldn’t campaign on it but would use a tax working group to implement it.
“Her exact words were the Labour Party ‘won’t be held back on being able to act on what that group finds’.
“This is the same approach MP Phil Twyford took at a public meeting in Wellington last week.
“People attending the meeting reported Mr Twyford saying ‘it’s a tough ask to sell the capital gains tax when you’re in opposition, it’s easier when you have an army of public servants’.
“At the same meeting he said that a comprehensive capital gains tax, a land value tax and an asset and wealth tax were all on the table after the election.
“When it comes to new taxes, Labour can’t help themselves.
“They have form – they’ve already tried to fudge their new water tax,” Mr Joyce says.
“New Zealand is currently doing well because people have confidence in economic policy and the Government is not constantly adding new taxes.
“Labour is obviously worried about telling voters what its actual tax plans are.
“They need to stop fudging and be upfront.”
The Labour Party’s proposed water tax would hit regional economies hard by picking on farmers, horticulturalists and wine growers, National Party Campaign Chair Steven Joyce says.
“Regions like Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago would be big losers from a policy that taxes water used by food producers that create a lot of the jobs in those regions”, Mr Joyce says.
“On top of that there is no detail in the policy. Labour needs to explain to New Zealanders clearly who would get to charge, how much would they charge, and who gets all the money,” Mr Joyce says. “They are asking for a blank cheque from farmers.
“Given this proposal is another re-heat of one put up three years ago, you’d think they would have had time to work out some of the details by now.
“Or are they just too scared to tell regional New Zealand what it would actually mean.
“The true cost of this tax would be borne by hard-working New Zealand families who would pay more for their weekly shop including things like milk, fruit and veges.”
Mr Joyce says that today’s announcement proves once again why Labour have dropped their “fresh approach” slogan.
“This comes hard on the heels of Labour confirming it would impose a regional fuel tax in Auckland. Two extra taxes in one week shows there is nothing new about this Labour Party. More taxes will increase living costs, slow down the economy and stop job growth,” Mr Joyce says.
“New leader but the same old Labour Party.”