Health warning needed on Alliance budget

  • Bill English

The Alliance's budget is so mickey mouse it should carry a health warning, Treasurer Bill English said today.

"We've spent days trying to make sense of the Alliance budget. We've finally come to the conclusion that it is incomprehensible and should carry a health warning 'trying to understand this will be injurious to your mental health'.

"The whole thing could be dismissed as a joke if Helen Clark hadn't made it clear that Jim Anderton will be given some sort of economic role in a Labour-led government. The thought of Mr Anderton meddling in the country's finances is a frightening possibility.

"The worst of it is that whether or not the numbers make sense, there is still $6 billion worth of promises in this budget. A Labour-Alliance government would have to raise more taxes than they plan to now. Everyone who earns more than $200 a week will be paying more.

"The problems with the Alliance budget include:

* The pages at the back of the document headed "National Party Budget" bear no relation to the official figures released in the PREFU. The figures appear to be a fantasy dreamed up by the Alliance.

* Contrary to what might be expected, the new policies outlined in the front of the document don't feed into the budget at the back of the document.

* The Alliance plans to spend $2.7 billion less over three years on unemployment benefits, compared to the official projections, despite a $20 per week raise for beneficiaries by the second year.

* Capital and operating spending is mixed up throughout the document.

* The Alliance plans to collect $2.4 billion less company tax than National over the next three years. Is Mr Anderton planning a company tax rate cut he hasn't told the country about?

* The Alliance plans to collect $4.3 billion more tax from individuals over the next three years than projected in the PREFU. This has to be overly ambitious, given that Labour's tax hikes will raise $2.4 billion and it is likely that people will find ways to avoid Mr Anderson's proposed surcharges.

* Even something as straight forward as New Zealand Super is incomprehensible. How do you explain the following?

NZ Super 2000/01 2001/02 2002/03

PREFU 4,981 5,092 5,273

Alliance version of PREFU 5,400 5,515 5,590

Alliance budget 5,550 5,865 6,095

Differences Alliance less PREFU 569 773 822 Alliance less Alliance version of PREFU 150 350 505


Alliance promise of extra spending 260 310 360

"Today the Alliance says it will complain to the Electoral Commission and the Advertising Complaints Board over National's newspaper advertisements, which state that 'under Labour/Alliance everyone in full-time work will pay more tax.'

"I look forward to them complaining, because the statement is absolutely true. Every New Zealander earning more than $9,500 - $200 a week - will pay more in taxes under a Labour-led government than they will under a National-led government," said Mr English.