Parties react to National's tax plan

Finance Minister Michael Cullen said National's economic plan has "savaged" KiwiSaver while encouraging people to spend.

"Basically it says economic growth is not about savings and investment and innovation at all, it's simply about encouraging people to spend," Dr Cullen said.

He said people will lose $40 a week in KiwiSaver contributions for a $14 tax cut above Labour's in the long run.

"Many people will pay more tax under this package then they do under Labour's package. Anybody earning between 14 and $24,000 a year will pay more under this package then under Labour's package."

He said those with a home, no children and high earners will do well under National.

"We are delighted about this package. It is about as badly designed as we could have possibly thought."

He said National has reduced the investment in research and development by wiping the tax credit just as the financial situation worsens.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman

National's economic plan helps those on high incomes while increasing the poverty gap, said Greens co-leader Russel Norman.

"Most of the benefit of Keys proposed tax cuts will be felt by those on above average incomes," Dr Norman said.

Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons

Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said funding tax cuts from the science research budget is tantamount to mortgaging the future.

"A strong sustainable economy will be based on good science and research. They are currently underfunded. National wants to strip them even further," Ms Fitzsimons said.

United Future leader Peter Dunne

United Future leader Peter Dunne said superannuitants and low income earners would lose out under National's scheme.

He said National's scheme was complicated and would be difficult to administer.

Mr Dunne said United Future would allow parents to split their income for tax purposes if they had children.

He said his party would have only three thresholds with tax rates set at 10 per cent for those earning up to $12,000, 20 per cent for those between $12,001 and $38,000 and 30 per cent for those above $38,000.

NZ First leader Winston Peters

New Zealand First has likened National's economic plan to an "unwanted Christmas present" and "just 1990s policies re-wrapped in the shiny, smiley parcel of John Key".

"National's front bench is a relic of the 1990s. The same old faces who nearly destroyed our economy then with their neo-liberal, voodoo economic ideology are still sitting on National's front bench and they have an unfinished agenda," Mr Peters said.

He encouraged New Zealanders to "look behind the glossy headlines" for National's real agenda.

"Be warned, National's decision to hold fire on some aspects of its tax package due to current economic conditions will be just the tip of the iceberg. They will use the current crisis in world markets as an excuse to impose drastic changes on our economy like selling strategic assets and cutting New Zealand Superannuation," Mr Peters said.

- NZ HERALD STAFF

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