“Labour going all-in on GST meddling sets up an election between parties with serious ideas to improve economic policy, and parties with vote buying gimmicks who are also the ones that got us into this mess,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“It’s an act of desperation from a visionless, poll-driven party which is out of ideas, out of Ministers, and fast running out of other people’s money. They know the policy doesn’t work, and we know they know because their own Finance spokesperson said so just a few months ago!
“Labour has known this policy won’t work since the last time they tried to introduce it in 2011. Their own Tax Working Group told them, saying "GST provides a poorly targeted means of addressing distributional concerns, as exemptions provide a greater benefit for higher income households than lower income households on an absolute dollar basis. Exemptions also creates complex boundaries, increase compliance costs, and can be a slippery slope.”
Finance Minister Grant Robertson knows it’s a disaster of a policy, having said GST exemptions can become "an absolute boondoggle to get through". As he noted last year, "If you want to make a real impact on the lowest income people you wouldn't cut the tax off fresh beetroot - that's not what people on low incomes buy."
“The simple, universal nature of GST is what makes it such an effective revenue collector, where would you stop with the exemptions? What about tinned fruit? Milk? Bottled water? The biggest winner would be the avalanche of lawyers and lobbyists seeking to create and exploit new GST loopholes.
“Australia and New Zealand have similar GST systems with a key difference - Australia has exemptions, and New Zealand simply applies it across the board. What's the result? Australians spend twice as long and twice as much money every year complying with GST than New Zealanders. This is the one thing we're doing better than Aussies at, and Labour is trying to throw it away.
“Labour’s likely coalition partner Te Pāti Māori announced a tax policy with a $30 billion hole. Combine that with the Green Party’s wealth tax, and together they would destroy the country’s economy and drive anyone with a sense of ambition away.
“ACT has a fully costed tax cut package that is built on aspiration for New Zealand. We would cut wasteful spending by $38 billion without touching frontline services and cut taxes sensibly. This allows us to implement a two-rate tax system – 17.5 and 28 per cent. If you’re a nurse on $70,000, our tax cuts let you keep $2,500 more a year.
“We all know Labour is deeply cynical around policymaking, this is the same party who suddenly pretended to care about crime months before an election after ignoring the problem for years. Announcing policies as economically illiterate as this for a few votes is a new low even for them. This is a party that is clearly not fit to govern.”