COMMENT

Do you feel $4000 worse off?

If Simon Bridges' numbers are to be believed, that's his claim, on average after all the new taxes, fees, and compliance under the Labour/New Zealand First/Green Government we are about $4000 a year worse off.

Median rent is up over $2500 a year. That will come as no surprise if you've looked for a place to rent as our family has. Queues are long, competition is intense, choice is small, and the quality at times is frightening.

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Petrol taxes $200 a year, tax cuts you never got $1000 a year, and so it goes.

The tax cut plan National has in mind didn't get detailed yesterday, so they're playing the election year tease.

And, be honest, most of what they said they should have said. It's what you would expect from National, and it is what they were delivering until their time ran out in 2017.

In simple terms Bridges could have said:

"See the mess and the waste of the past two years? See the houses not built? The industry of committees, reports and procrastination? The billions on welfare for no real return? The ever-growing lines for housing, food and benefits? That is what you get under Labour, and that ends September this year."

The good news is we have choice, it's a classic centre left, centre right battle. The right say keep your money, our job is provide an economy in which you can excel and succeed if you want. They're promising 3 per cent growth.

The left say we need to spend in social areas, re-balance the pie, and give more to those who need it. Their growth is in the ones.

Labour, the Greens, and NZ First line up left, National and Act line up right.

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The reason National are very much not only in this race, but according to both polls last week leading, is because we are a nation of aspirationalists. We seek the opportunity to do well, we don't mind graft, but we want a fair suck of the sav.

If Labour have to defend their approach its around wastage. It seems incomprehensible that the billions they've thrown at welfare has had literally no effect other than to fuel it. Look at the numbers, the food grants, emergency housing, Jobseeker payments all up, many at record levels. The surplus is gone, the borrowing has begun and still the hands are out for more.

The cold hard economic truth is you can't spend the way they have without an economy stoked to pay for it, and they've sunk that as well.

So National in their announcement is being classic National, and to their advantage they have a Government with a hell of a lot to try explain and defend.

But as regards tax cuts, what history tells us is, when one is offering to let you keep your money, and one isn't and indeed wants more, one side has an easier case to make.