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July 12, 2008

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Lynn Prentice

I doubt there would be much support for a flat tax proposal if all it would make most people poorer, even if 22% got a lot better off. A flat tax proposal would have to keep taxes low for low income earners, and ideally remove them altogether for very low earners. In fact New Zealand's tax rates on low income earners are high relative to some other countries, notably Australia.

The question still stands - exactly what items would you cut? Saying 'government fat' doesn't work with these types of numbers. You have to cut into some of the big spend expenditure items. Especially if you follow the latter part of the quoted section of your post.

So those would have to include superannuation, health, and education (the really big ticket expenditure items). Lest assume that you have to cut 4 billion out of those. Select which $4 billion.

You could of course do a John Key and give a cheesy grin and a 2 paragraph (uncosted) policy. But that is for children and C/T. If you are prepared to hold an opinion about a policy change that large, then you should also be able to show where the axe will fall. Otherwise it is just pointless rhetoric.

The Optimist

See my post on this.

I think this is purely a dishonest debate. I believe cutting a few billion (possibly 4) from government expediture could be done without anyone noticing. There is massive waste around. Just look at the huge growth in government rental of Wellington offer space in the past 5 years.

In ChCh I heard reports that the IRD spent about $300 /m2 on office space which was worth only $150/m2. Their new central city building has about the highest office rent in ChCh. It is massive. Possibly a lot of that growth is due to working for families - I heard they had to take on 400 staff nationwide when it started.

Whole departments could be disbanded and no one would notice.

Anyway, let me turn it around: defend the spending that should stay.

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