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National promises economic reforms, tax incentives and public spending cuts

National Party Deputy Leader and Finance Spokesperson Nicola Willis speaking at the National Party Conference in Christchurch on August 6, 2022 (Photo Supplied)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, August 7, 2022

The National Party will introduce a series of tax cuts and reduce public expenditure and repeal many of the current laws if elected to form the next government in 2023, Deputy Leader Nicola Willis has said.

Addressing the Conference of her Party at the Christchurch Convention Centre in Christchurch on August 6, 2022, Ms Willis, who is also the Party’s Finance Spokesperson, said that the Cost of Living Crisis is the worst problem affecting New Zealanders.

She quoted extensively Sydney Holland who formed the first National government in 1949 reiterating his motto of ‘individual choice, individual freedom and less government regulation.’

Extensive Tax Cuts

“We will scrap the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax. It is hurting Aucklanders every time they fill up at the pump. It has to go. We will scrap Labour’s plans for an Auckland Light Rail Tax. We will scrap the Ute-Tax. It is nothing but a punishment to farmers and tradies and you deserve better,” Ms Willis declared.

She said that her government will also remove the 39% tax rate, describing it as ‘An Envy Tax’ but did not say whether the taxation threshold will be lifted or the level at which the tax rate will be capped. She however said that the ‘Ten Year Brightline Test extension’ will be removed, since, according to her, it is ‘Capital Gains Tax by stealth.’

Challenging Conditions

Stating that New Zealand is facing the most challenging economic conditions, she said that the spiralling cost of living crisis, prices growing faster than wages, interest rates moving up, and rising rentals are hurting New Zealanders.

“Businesses cannot find workers and hence they are letting down customers, compromising quality and giving up on growth ambitions. The people covering the vacancies feel exhausted,” she said and quoted a small business complaining that he had worked 152 days in a row without a break. Nurses in hospitals are doubling down on overtime and the farmers cannot remember the last time they did less than a ten-hour day.

“National has a better way. We will get the economy working once more,” Ms Willis said and accused the government of exceeding the limits of borrowing, printing money and spending during the Covid-19 pandemic. She said that the consequences have been dire – prices are rising faster than they have done in 32 years, and inflation is gripping the economy and hurting everyone.

Ms Willis said that instead of presenting a plan to restore productive growth to the national economy and addressing the underlying drivers of inflation, the Labour government has increased public spending, choked access to new workers and lurched from one temporary band-aid policy to another.

‘The KiwiSpray’

“Its signature move, the ‘Cost-of-Living Payment’ has been a spectacular failure, resulting in taxpayer dollars going to expats in London, French backpackers and dead people. It is so bad,” she said and called it ‘KiwiSpray.’ It is like KiwiBuild, only instead of being 99,000 houses short, it is 800,000 payments short.

Ms Willis said that a National government will have a sensible, common-sense plan to beat inflation, and ‘end Labour’s failed policies, high-taxing, big spending, big government, with no accountability for failure and no focus on results.’

Quoting Adam Hamilton, the Founding Leader of the National Party, she said, “National stands for reduction of taxation so that enterprise may be encouraged, industries established and living costs reduced.”

“We want to leave as much spending power as possible in the hands of those earning the money. We want New Zealanders to keep more of their pay so that they can save for that first house, invest in that start-up, expand that small business, hire that new worker, take the kids to the movies or have the security of money put aside for a rainy day,” she said.

Projects to be scrapped

Ms Willis used her speech to attack the Labour government, saying that her government will scrap Labour’s ‘worst projects,’ reduce backroom bureaucracy, eliminate waste and drive better results from existing Budgets.

She cited three projects that will be terminated: Three Waters Reform, TVNZ-RNZ Merger, and Te Pukenga.

“Labour’s Three Waters plan to do a mega-merger of council-owned water assets is undemocratic state centralisation at its worst.  It also comes with a $3 billion price tag. National will repeal and replace Three Waters. Labour has inexplicably decided to embark on a mega-merger of the two-state broadcasters. It comes with a $370 million price tag. National opposes it.  Labour has also ploughed $200 million into the creation of Te Pukenga, the mega-merger of New Zealand’s polytechnics and institutes of technology. National opposes it. National will not pour billions of dollars into centralisation and bureaucracy,” Ms Willis said.

Among the other issues which she promised to tackle are (a) unlocking the potential of our people through better education (b) delivering growth-enhancing infrastructure; including the infrastructure New Zealand will need to adapt to climate change (c) attracting new sources of capital (d) embracing science and technology, including to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and  (e) growing our connections with the world.

National Party Leader Christopher Luxon, Members of Parliament, Board of Directors, Candidates for the 2023 general election and supporters are attending the two-day conference being held in Christchurch Convention Centre.

Indian Newslink will publish more reports about this Conference.

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