Nicola Willis says National still helping low-income Kiwis despite policy changes seeing families miss out on up to $38 week

  • 29/11/2023

The new Finance Minister Nicola Willis says National is still a party that helps low-income Kiwis with the cost of living crisis after it was revealed some families were going to miss out on $38 per week.   

The new Government is still getting its feet under the table at the Beehive, but more information is emerging about which National policies had to be scrapped during collation talks with New Zealand First and the ACT Party.    

One policy that was scrapped means that low-and middle-income families who were receiving Working for Families Tax Credits are going to miss out on up to $38 a week that they were in line for.   

The New Zealand Herald reported on Tuesday the $38 a week families will miss out on was under a policy designed to ease the "impact of the cost of living" which was "especially significant for families raising children", according to a policy document.   

Willis appeared on AM on Tuesday morning and was asked how National was fulfilling its promise of helping Kiwis with the cost of living crisis when that policy was scrapped.   

She said her party has been "resolute" in their commitment to reducing taxes in 2024.  

"We've been resolute in keeping our commitment to Kiwis to reduce their taxes next year by adjusting tax thresholds, increasing tax credits so that a median income earner, earning $60,000 a year will be up to $50 a fortnight better off.," she said.

"We're keeping that commitment. It's critical, it's going to help them with the cost of living and that's what this government's all about."

Willis told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green National has preserved all the tax reductions for next year that the party had promised in the election campaign.    

"That includes a $25 a week increase to the in-work tax credit for families receiving and eligible for Working for Families. So that increase is there, we've protected that in the coalition agreements," she said.    

"What we haven't done is committed to tax changes beyond next year. You'll know that we put out a tax calculator prior to the election, that just focussed on the tax changes we were promising for next year rather than in further years."  

But Willis wouldn't make any promises beyond 2024 saying National needs to make sure they can afford more tax cuts.   

"The truth is I would love to offer low-and middle-income families more tax reduction in the years beyond next year, but we just need to make sure we can afford that, that we can fund it responsibly before we make any commitments to it," she said.   

National was very vocal through the election campaign about being a party that would fix the economy and help Kiwis with the cost of living crisis.   

After being officially sworn in as Prime Minister on Monday morning, Christopher Luxon said the big focus of the new cabinet is creating the 100-day plan.   

He told media the "number one job" is the economy and addressing the cost of living crisis - bringing inflation down and making food more affordable.  

National revealed its 100-day plan during the election campaign but some of that had to be changed through the coalition agreements with New Zealand First and ACT.   

Watch the full interview for more.