"Only after a deluge of embarrassing news, where people all over the world got a Cost of Living Payment from taxpayers courtesy of Labour, has David Parker thought to ask the obvious question 'are you in New Zealand?' before giving out free money,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“After hosing taxpayer money around globally last month, David Parker is trying again, this time with some obvious tweaks. The Minister has decided to check, if a person filled out a non-Resident Tax return last year, that they’re in New Zealand.

“The real question is why this wasn’t a criterion before? There are two possible answers, and the Minister should say which one it is. In the rush to give away free money, they forgot. As the Government admitted in Written Parliamentary Questions, Cabinet only considered the Cost of Living Payment once, five weeks before it was announced on April 11.

“The alternative is that they did not care and wanted as little resistance to giving out money as possible. The Minister needs to say which one it is, too much haste, or didn’t care anyway?

“If the Minister cares about getting the Cost of Living Payment only to people who truly need it, he needs to explain what steps he’s taken to ensure it won’t go to:

  • People in high income households where they are not the primary earner, e.g. young people living at home, spouses of high earners
  • High income earners who were only in the country for part of the last tax year, e.g. someone who just arrived back in the country in February, but earns a large salary

“Of course, the rushed law could have been avoided if only the Government had taken a much simpler approach. Just reduce the amount of tax taken in the first place.

"A large part of the cost-of-living crisis is driven by tax. Inflation has been good for the Government, who taxed $86 billion in the last pre-COVID year, 2019. Now they are forecast to take $103 billion, a 20 per cent increase in three years.

“ACT is the only party that has released a fully costed alternative budget, that would cut tax on all earners. It would, for example, allow a nurse on $70,000 with one child to keep $2,300 more of her own money each year.

“ACT’s solution, based on reduced Government spending, would not only be simpler to administer, it would be fairer because it would be proportional to effort, and would reduce underlying inflation by reducing Government spending.”

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David Seymour