Election 2023: National to bring forward release of policy costings after pressure

"National will be releasing our fully costed and fully funded tax plan well ahead of PREFU," she said.
"National will be releasing our fully costed and fully funded tax plan well ahead of PREFU," she said. Photo credit: Newshub.

The National Party has confirmed its policy costings will be released earlier than the month before the election they had been planning.

The party has been under pressure from opponents to release its fiscal plan. Labour leader Chris Hipkins yesterday said National was making a lot of big spending commitments including yearly increases to core health and education funding and promised big tax cuts.

"And yet they've made no attempt to show New Zealanders how they're going to pay for those things, so I think New Zealanders could rightly be mistrustful of the National Party because they're just not being upfront with what their plans are."

It followed criticism from Council of Trade Unions economist Craig Renney - a former advisor in Labour's Finance Minister Grant Robertson's office - who warned National's tax cut policy was now expected to cost $8.2 billion when adjusted for inflation.

National finance spokesperson Nicola Willis said Renney had done a great job of highlighting how out of control inflation was under Labour.

"Labour's economic mismanagement means continued sky-high inflation is pushing even more Kiwis into higher tax brackets, even though the spending power of their wages has gone backwards for three years straight. Kiwis are being hit by inflation twice. First by higher prices and then by higher taxes."

She and leader Christopher Luxon had previously said their fully costed fiscal plan would be released after Treasury's pre-election economic and fiscal update (PREFU) which is set to be unveiled in September, about four weeks before the 14 October election.

Hipkins, Robertson and Renney have said that would be too late and voters should be given the details earlier.

Willis confirmed that would now be the case, but did not say exactly when that would be.

"National will be releasing our fully costed and fully funded tax plan well ahead of PREFU," she said.

"Grant Robertson can look forward to that document setting out our plans to restore discipline to government spending and let Kiwis keep more of what they earn."

Labour released its final Budget before the election a week ago, but has yet to release its own fiscal plan for any election policies - and has not released details of its own plans around tax, with Hipkins only saying that would be made public "well before the election".

Willis said New Zealanders had deserved tax relief from Labour in the Budget last week.

"Instead all they got was more spending and more borrowing which will keep inflation and interest rates higher for longer."

Tax cuts alone would of course put more money in people's pockets, which would be inflationary, but this could be offset by lower overall government spending.

"National will fund our tax reduction plan by stopping some of the low priority spending being funded by this government," Willis said.

"Labour is spending over half a billion dollars in corporate welfare for climate initiatives, $1.8 billion a year on consultants, $400 million on a new polytechnic bureaucracy and $100 million a year on advertising."