“New Zealanders need real change, but National’s plan is loose change. It could have been released by a Labour Finance Minister like Michael Cullen. In fact, Cullen’s 2008 Budget cut taxes more aggressively, promising $10.6 billion of tax cuts in three years at a time when government spending was less than half what it is now.

“Real change starts with serious reductions in Labour’s spending. Keeping Labour’s $56 billion in extra spending and Labour’s tax system with minor adjustments for inflation is not the real change we need – it’s just delaying the decline of a first world country.

“Tax bracket indexation is exactly what it sounds like: Labour’s tax policy adjusted for inflation. It’s not a tax cut, it’s tinkering that freezes the unfairness of Labour’s tax policy in time. That’s just not good enough for New Zealand, we don’t need to trim the sails, we need a turnaround job.

“Either Labour’s tax policies are a failure, and need real change, or Labour is doing a good job and the next Government need only adjust it for inflation. It can’t be both.

ACT’s Alternative Budget earlier this year showed how New Zealand could move to a competitive two-rate tax system where the top company, trust, and individual income tax rates were aligned at 28%.

“We set out how we would fund this flatter, more competitive tax system. We would attack wasteful government spending by shrinking the bureaucracy and cutting corporate and middle-class welfare.

“That would create a culture where work, savings and investment are rewarded, raise productivity and wages, and make the government’s books sustainable.

“It would deal with the size of government and its debt, and the structure of the tax system. It would take New Zealand from five tax rates on income down to two.

“It would reduce the incentive for tax avoidance and sends a message that if you work hard and do well, you get to keep more of your own money.

“Only ACT is asking seriously questions like: How can New Zealand become wealthier, so people can afford the same medicines that people overseas can access? Is the tax system the best it can be, or could it be simplified to collect enough revenue with less bureaucracy?

“The next Government can deal with the hard issues, or it can carry on pretending they don’t exist. Successive governments have ignored problems and taken the easy road and New Zealanders are paying the price.

“When the last National Government was elected, the gap between a New Zealander and an Australian earning the median wage was $11,900 a year. In 2008, National campaigned on closing that gap. It’s now 2023 and the wage gap has grown to $23,400 less a year.

“ACT has set out what a real alternative looks like.

“ACT is the only party willing to tell the truth about the state of our economy and our country. Only ACT has the courage to make the tough decisions required for real change. New Zealanders face a choice: more of the same, or real change. The choice is ours.”

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