The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions says it beggars belief that National Leader Christopher Luxon can retain confidence in his finance spokesperson Nicola Willis after the latest revelations about the size of the hole in its tax plan.
As reported on RNZ today, two respected economists, working with property experts CoreLogic, show National’s Foreign Buyer Tax would raise just $210m a year compared to National’s optimistic estimates of $740 million.
“This amounts to a staggering hole of more than $2 billion over the four-year forecast period,” said CTU President Richard Wagstaff.
“The CTU has said all along that National’s tax plan doesn’t add up and the weight of expert evidence continues to mount daily, confirming a huge headache for National – the credibility of finance spokesperson Nicola Willis is at stake here.
“We call on Christopher Luxon to express confidence in Ms Willis and explain how the Foreign Buyer Tax will work and release the reports which they are relying on instead of resorting to the sweeping and shallow defences he has made to date. He needs to front up and answer the hard questions journalists are asking every day.
“There is too much at stake here. If the numbers don’t add up as many now suspect, and a huge fiscal hole to the tune of billions of dollars opens up, a National-ACT government would have to take an even sharper axe to public services and slash and burn core services should it form the next government.
“Nicola Willis has said she wants to cut $600 million in public sector spending by Christmas. Clearly, the cuts would be more severe to make the tax plan work – they would need to more than double – and that means the public service would be incapacitated and unable to function effectively.
“National needs to come clean on what those cuts will mean for New Zealanders – without a doubt services New Zealanders need across health, education, justice, welfare, conservation, biosecurity, customs and much more are at risk.
“Mr Luxon makes a lot of his corporate record – but no leader of a listed company would stand for this shambolic accounting.
“This election is all about earning the right to lead New Zealand. Right now, Mr Luxon is not doing enough to prove he’s got what it takes. He needs to front up with evidence and numbers that add up, or own up to the fact that his plan is not fit for purpose.”