Govt unlikely to alter taxing despite council pleas

Finance Minister Bill English is unlikely to be swayed by a last-minute plea from the Council of Trade Unions yesterday to change the Government's fiscal objectives.

Mr English will this morning release the Budget Policy Statement, which will set out the Government's policy goals before the May Budget.

Mr English will use the Budget Policy Statement to drive home the need for less government spending, a smaller public service, the need to partially sell state-owned assets and for householders to continue to save rather than spend.

The continuing credit crisis in Europe ties the hands of Mr English, who will also point to a lower-than-previously forecast surplus in the 2015 financial year.

CTU economist Bill Rosenberg said the Budget Policy Statement provided an opportunity for Mr English to state any changes to the Government's fiscal objectives. It was also an opportunity to outline how those changes accorded with the principles of responsible fiscal management.

Mr Rosenberg wanted Mr English to reverse major elements of the tax changes the Government had implemented in the past two years.

"The $2.2 billion that went to the top 10% was clearly a mistake. It has not helped the economy, it has worsened the Government's fiscal position, and it is further increasing income inequality," he said.

The $2.2 billion would go a long way to help with the Christchurch rebuilding, he said.

It could be used to build more Housing Corporation houses to meet the housing shortages, and to raise the caps on tertiary education and industry training, Mr Rosenberg said.

"There needs to be more support for those on low incomes and actions to reduce inequality.

"More of the same policies just won't work," Mr Rosenberg said.



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