With the National Party this week announcing a new policy of tax cuts to spice up the election campagin. MyThinks went along to the launch and afterwards we spoke to the party’s finance spokesperson Paul “Golden Touch” Goldsmith.
MT: Thanks for speaking to us Mr Goldsmith.
PG: No. Thank you.
MT: So you’ve announced your tax policy today.
PG: Yes. That is what we have done. Announced our tax policy.
MT: And how do you think this is going to help National during the upcoming campaign?
PG: Well… we are seen as the party of sound financial managers of the economy. These tax cuts are a way for us to give back to those people who have suffered during the crisis the Labour Party have created.
MT: Are you saying the Labour Party caused Covid-19?
PG: Pardon? What…?
MT: This economic crisis, the plunge in GDP, job losses and so on… that’s all a result of the country having to deal with the effects of lockdowns as a result of the potiential of Covid-19 to overwhelm our health system.
PG: um… yes…
MT: So are you saying our current economic crisis is caused by a pandemic Labour created?
PG: No. No. I’m not saying that.
MT: What are you saying?
PG: I’m saying that we need tax cuts to boost the economy.
MT: How do tax cuts boost the economy?
PG: How… what…? How do… Ha! Tax cuts.
MT: It’s a pretty simple question. How will cutting people’s tax help improve the economy?
PG: Well.. it’s obvious, isn’t it?
MT: Yes. Obvious to you. But let’s pretend that I’m an alien from another planet that doesn’t have money. Explain to me how tax cuts work.
PG: Well… when National wins the election…
MT: If National win the election. You’re on about 30% or something aren’t you. Where is the other 20% going to come from?
PG: Can I talk about the last thing I was talking about please? You’re asking too many difficult questions that I don’t want to answer.
MT: Ok. Go ahead. Sorry.
PG: Let’s say National are leading the next government. We will pass a law that will cut the taxes of income earners. Those income earners will then take the money they are not giving to the government and go out into the economy and spend it with mum and dad shop owners, tourism operators, and bars and clubs.
MT: And you’re absolutley sure of that.
PG: Sure of what?
MT: That people will spend their tax cuts?
PG: Oh… absolutley they will. Everybody always spends their tax cuts.
MT: Did you spend your last tax cut?
MT: When National were last in office and dished out an income tax cut, did you spend it with the mum and dad business owners?
PG: I… um.. the…
MT: So that’s a no then?
PG: No. That’s not a no.
MT: Well… is it a yes.
PG: Um… no.. it’s not a yes.
MT: So did you spend your tax cut, or did you invest it in something… say like becoming the part owner in a bach or throwing into your kiwisaver?
PG: You know… that’s actually a question I can’t answer at this time. You’ll have to ask my accountant.
MT: So… do you think most New Zealanders have accountants that can help them avoid paying tax?
PG: I don’t avoid paying tax. I take measures to legally minimise my tax obligations.
MT: Do you think most income earners are in a position to legally minimise their tax obligations?
PG: Um… can we talk about something else. This line of questioning is making me look bad.
MT: Indeed. So… how will the National Party bridge the gap between the lower tax take and the spending promises you’ve made.
PG: What do you mean?
MT: Well… National have pledged to spend billions of dollars on roads and other infrastructure, you’ve also promised to pay back debt quicker than the Labour Party. Lowering taxes is going to lead to lower government revenue. How are you going to pay for it?
PG: Again… what do you mean? I don’t follow you in the slightest.
MT: OK… how are you going to pay for all your spending promises?
PG: With money, silly.
MT: Where is the money coming from?
PG: Again… The government, silly.
MT: How is the government going to raise that money?
PG: Oh my lord, you are a numpty. We are going to raise the money in the usual way.
MT: What is the usual way?
PG: We are going to raise the money by paying back debt and lowering taxes.
MT: You can’t raise money by reducing the amount of money you have.
PG: What do you mean?
MT: I mean you can’t start off with an amount of money, reduce that amount of money by, say, paying off debt or lowering taxes, and then end up with more money.
PG: Why not? I don’t understand.
MT: Let’s say you are the government and I am a tax payer. Let’s say I give you ten dollars.
MT: And let’s say you already owe three dollars to Brian, my sound guy.
MT: So I only give you seven dollars, because of, you know the debt. And I give the other three straight to Brian.
BRIAN THE SOUND GUY: Thanks very much.
PG: So you’ve paid off your debt to Brian the sound guy.
MT: And then, actually, you the government decide to give me one of those dollars back as a tax cut…
MT: …so now how may dollars do you have left?
MT: No. I have one, Brian has three and you only have six dollars.
PG: What? That can’t be right.
MT: It is right. You only have six dollars. Count them.
PG: Um… one, two, three, four, five… and… six… Oh no.
MT: Oh yes… so where are you going to get the extra money from to pay for your roads and infrastructure projects and other shovel-ready items that definitely aren’t the same as Shane Jones’ massive slush fund from the last parliament.
PG: But I can’t… I’ve only got six dollars.
PG: So how are we going to pay for everything?
MT: Yes… indeed again.
PG: This isn’t good.
MT: You’re right. It makes you look like you have no idea what you’re doing.
PG: But we must know what we are doing. We are sound fiscal managers!
MT: Who can’t do simple addition.
PG: Yes… but… that doesn’t count. It was a trick.
MT: Paul Goldsmith. Thanks for your time.
PG: Sound fiscal managers!
MT and Brian the Sound Guy leave the room.
PG: ….the natural party of government… sound fiscal managers… oh… and what am I going to spend this six dollars on?
MT (sticking head back through the door): Another road!
MT and Brian can be heard laughing as they walk away.