War of words erupts over National's plan for tax cuts

Parliament's erupted into a war of words over National's plan for tax cuts.

Labour's accusing it of flip-flopping on a flip-flop, while National's accusing Labour of dirty political games.

Christopher Luxon was having a ball on Wednesday night as a puppet of him was unveiled at Wellington's Backbenchers pub. It depicts him as Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall.

"I see the inspiration, I can see the inspiration…egg. Great!" he said. 

But on Thursday, his tax policy had a great fall, and with Luxon away, it was his deputy Nicola Willis who had to put it together again.

"We will be providing permanent tax reduction that adjusts the tax thresholds as we presented in January as a minimum," the National finance spokesperson said.

Their flagship tax policy was put on ice and its old tax calculator taken down.

"If fiscal and economic conditions permit, we would like to go further," Willis said. 

The change on tax cuts launched the 'attack Chrises'.

"Look, if you can't hold a coherent position in Opposition, how on earth could you run the country?" said Labour's Chris Hipkins.

Hipkins dusted off his old Labour letterhead, with the old spelling of his electorate, to fire first.

His counter Chris - National's Chris Bishop - though, got in first with the verbal bazookas.

"If the Labour Party is going to fire up [sending] press releases to attack the National Party in a desperate attempt to distract attention away from their cost of living debacle, well, two can play at that game," Bishop told reporters. 

Hipkins politely waited behind Willis while she spoke for his turn to attack.

"A total shambles, who knows what their position is today? It seems to change from day to day. They've now done a flip-flop on a flip-flop" Hipkins said. 

The tax cut confusion concerned National's likely Government bedfellow, ACT.

"It's always possible to cut taxes, you just spend less," leader David Seymour said.

National says all this is just Labour attempting to distract from their cost of living payment going to Kiwis who don't need it, like dead people.

Revenue Minister David Parker recited a poem in the House on Thursday that he said "in other words" means "after someone has died they can't update their details to Inland Revenue".

For the record, quoting poetry is the Revenue Minister's way of saying he doesn't know how many dead people got the payment.

Meanwhile, as National heads to its annual conference this weekend, it's left voters not knowing its flagship tax policy.