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Labour Targets National Super And Scrapped Tax Cuts

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 29 NZPA - The Labour Party says pensions are under threat because the Government has suspended payments into the National Superannuation Fund.

Opposition MPs seized on national super and the scrapping of tax cuts when they launched a furious assault on the Government in Parliament minutes after Finance Minister Bill English's budget speech ended.

"They don't believe in universal superannuation," said Labour leader Phil Goff.

"Not only have they gutted KiwiSaver, now they've gutted super as well."

Mr Goff said ongoing payments to the fund, which was started by former Labour finance minister Michael Cullen to help finance pensions in the future, were essential to guaranteeing the money would be there to pay them.

"The net result of the decade of deferrals will be that future entitlements to super are put at risk no matter what pious pledges Bill English makes now," Mr Goff said.

"National has dug a $20 billion hole at least for our kids to dig themselves out of."

Mr English's explanation for deferring payments to 2020 was that when the fund was set up, the idea was to put budget surpluses into it.

Those surpluses had disappeared and the Government would have to borrow $2 billion a year for the next decade to maintain the payments.

"It makes little economic sense to burden future generations with debt incurred to finance investments that were intended to reduce their need to borrow," he said.

But it was an easy target for Labour, and so was the confirmation that the tax cuts had been scrapped.

The Government took a beating on that when it brought in a bill under urgency last night to repeal the 2010 and 2011 tax cuts.

Labour reminded National it used urgency to enact the tax cuts after last year's election, and that Prime Minister John Key had personally guaranteed them.

Opposition finance spokesman David Cunliffe said Mr Key had lied -- a remark he had to withdraw -- and National had always known it wasn't going to be able to afford them.

Mr Goff said Mr Key had broken a promise.

"John Key and Bill English, determined to buy the election, made the promise and didn't care whether or not they could honour it," he said.

The bill to repeal the tax cuts, however, went through its early stages on unanimous votes and Labour was in the odd position of supporting it while it was attacking the Government for doing it.


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