"We are cutting tax for the fifth year. We believe in low taxes. It's a good thing." Sadly, that's not the New Zealand finance minister talking, it's his Australian counterpart.
With yesterday's budget announcement by Treasurer Peter Costello, Australians get to enjoy enjoying getting back $31.5 billion of their own money! On the NZ scale that represents a tax refund of over $6 billion!
How would you feel about that?
Sadly, there is little expectation of anything remotely similar happening here next week, despite even the IMF advising the Clark Government "to focus on tax cuts and curb spending to help the economy through a difficult period." There's just no hope that's going to happen, whichever major party is in power.
The best hope for New Zealanders having less taken out of our pockets is a trial balloon floated last week for a give-back-with-one-hand-take-with-the-other 'tax cut' that will be linked to a compulsory retirement savings scheme -- giving back with one hand, and taking back with the the other.
There is little hope that either major party here even realises whose money it is that forms the enormous surpluses piled up every financial year.
LINKS: Cut taxes, spending, says IMF - NZ Herald
Cullen says big surpluses no longer politically sustainable - NBR