National accused of pulling u-turn on flagship tax policy

Maiki Sherman
Source: 1News

A war of words has broken out between National and Labour as the government accuses the opposition of pulling a U-turn on its flagship tax policy, while in turn receiving criticism over the cost of living payment.

Jacinda Ardern and Christopher Luxon were both working out of Wellington on Thursday, leaving the battle of words between Labour's Chris Hipkins and National's Chris Bishop to play out at Parliament.

The pair swapped insults both in the House and out.

Hipkins accused National of being in disarray.

"A total shambles, I mean who knows what their positions is today...they've now done a flip-flop on their flip-flop," he said.

Bishop hit back soon after.

"We are rock solid and we are all about providing strong economic leadership for New Zealand and making sure that this useless incompetent Government is turfed out of office as quickly as possible," he said.

Hipkins responded by calling Chris Bishop "one of the most political attack people in the Parliament."

Not to be outdone, Bishop told reporters "two can play at that game I'm here to defend the National Party's record."

The war of words on Thursday came as National announced that it would ice its flagship $1.7 billion worth of tax cuts that were promised in March.

This was despite Luxon talking about it on TVNZ's Breakfast the day before.

“Just lift the tax rates by the amount of inflation and let people keep their own money,” he said just 24 hours prior.

Just how much people would save now is unknown, a tax calculator on National's website that allowed the public to work out their savings based on the policy that was there in June was gone completely today.

Luxon said they would design a tax policy for the election next year, however.

“I can reassure you that indexation will be a key component of it,” he said.

National’s finance spokesperson Nicola Willis took one step further, doubling down on her leader's comments by promising a tax cut higher than the previously promoted $1.7 billion.

“That is the minimum that we will deliver, we would like to go further,” she said.

Hipkins was scathing in his assessment.

“You know that's a different position to the one they had yesterday which was a different position to the one they had the day before that.”

Bishop denied the party was backtracking.

“No this is a desperate attempt by the Labour Party to distract attention away from the cost of living payment debacle,” he said.

Hipkins said: “Look if you can't hold a coherent position in opposition, how on earth could you run the country?”