On Monday, the present government had to open the books before the election to show how much money the country has. Just as we expected, it was bad news. Last year the books showed the government had more money than expected but things are very different now. The books were mostly in the red with a deficit of nearly $6 billion. This is the difference between the money coming in and going out of the country. This deficit occurred before the recent financial troubles in the USA so it is likely the deficit will get worse in the future.
Today, the National Party announced their planned tax cuts if they become the government after the elections. John Key said that because of the bad economic situation, it is now impossible to offer the tax cuts that he wanted to offer. However, he still promised tax cuts for those on low and middle incomes. From April 1st next year, people earning less than $14,000 will pay 12.5% in tax, while those earning more than $14,000 but less than $48,000 will pay 21%. There will also be a rebate of $10 a week for anyone earning between $24,000 and $48,000 if they don’t receive a benefit or Working for Families money or New Zealand Superannuation. John Key said they can find the money for tax cuts by making changes to Kiwi Saver and cutting some other spending. He believes that tax cuts will help the economy to grow by encouraging people to spend.
Meanwhile, the financial problems around the world have affected the NZ dollar which fell tonight to around 58.5c from 67.5c a week ago. Unemployment is up which means there will be less money for the government from taxes and more money needed for benefits. These are worrying economic times but the Minister of Finance, Michael Cullen, says that New Zealand is in a good position. The New Zealand economy is ‘sound’ he said, which means ‘safe and sound’.