Election 2023: Labour raises doubt about National's tax plan

It may feel like it's been going on for months already but with Parliament rising on Thursday, the campaign proper is kicking off.

National released its mega tax policy on Wednesday costing $14 billion. But there could be a mega issue because they might not be able to rely on Chinese foreign buyers to fund their plan.

There were theatrics and laughter in the House, particularly during exchanges between National's Nicola Willis and Labour's Grant Robertson.

Willis is gunning for Robertson's job as Finance Minister and after releasing her tax plan the fiscal hole accusations are flying.

"National's tax plan doesn't add up, it looks dodgy," said Labour's revenue spokesperson Barbara Edmonds. 

But Willis said Labour is "desperate because they have seen that our tax plan is solid".

Labour says National's going all in on a risky bet of taxing the online gambling black market to fund their tax cuts

"Their numbers just don't add up," said Edmonds.

"It's easy to prove that if they do, just show us your assumptions," said Labour's racing spokesperson Kieran McAnulty.

Willis said: "We will be able to find that money… We will be able to find that money."

But Labour's David Parker reckons there's other money missing.

Because part of National's plan is to bring back foreign buyers for homes worth more than $2 million and tax them 15 percent.

"This puts the credibility of their tax cut plan into severe doubt," Parker said. 

Article 24 of our double taxation treaty with China in 2019 clearly states that we can't tax Chinese buyers more than we tax Kiwis. 

"It's clear in black and white, the provisions of this article apply to taxes of every kind and description," Parker said. 

That could be a mega issue because before the foreign buyer ban 36 percent of buyers were from China.

"They have missed this very black-and-white rule that we have in that tax treaty," Parker said.

Cutting Chinese buyers out of the $2.9 billion National needs for their tax cuts means there could be a $1 billion hole.

Asked if he was rock solid that National can tax foreign buyers from China, National leader Christopher Luxon said: "I can tell you in the National Party we understand the economy and we are rock solid on our numbers."

On a solid rock, he reckons, as everyone rolls onto the campaign.