New Zealand Labour Party

Don't believe the hype - debt has skyrocketed under National

The reckless dangling of tax cuts by the National Government is all the more irresponsible when it is put alongside the failure to pay down debt or put money aside for future superannuation costs, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.

"Labour believes our priorities have to be to invest in our people - through housing, health, education, safe communities, decent work, and higher wages.

“We will not join in a tax cut lolly scramble while children are living in cars and garages or while elderly New Zealanders are being denied essential home care. We are a better country than that.

"At a time when the country is facing huge challenges recovering from the recent earthquake and dealing with a housing crisis, rising crime, and a health system cracking under pressure, talk of tax cuts is just plain dumb.

"Alongside this, National is failing to plan and budget for the long-term. In recent days there has been comment about the government paying down debt.

“Debt has actually risen by more than $50 billion on National's watch. In Parliament on the 11th of October, Bill English acknowledged in response to a question from me that they have not paid down any net debt in dollar terms.

"Whatever spin National and its cheerleaders want to put on it, it is just incorrect to claim otherwise."

"There are many other priorities ahead of tax cuts. Our health system, our schools, and our police are all critically underfunded.

One of the critical long term challenges for New Zealand is to fund our future superannuation needs. National has not made any contributions to the Super Fund in over seven years. Now the books are back in surplus, this must be a priority."

"Tax cuts are not the answer to security and opportunity for all New Zealanders. They are a sugar hit, and as shown by the 2010 round invariably benefit the highest income earners the most," says Grant Robertson.