Act joins fiscal hole club with $43b inflation typo

The Act Party has launched a plan to tackle inflation through tax cuts and regulatory reform – although the plan included a $43 billion mistake.

The plan, launched by Act leader David Seymour, alleged the Government had propped up the economy by “borrowing and spending” $100b.

“Locking the economy down and borrowing and spending $100 billion has left us with a mountain of debt and rising prices,” Seymour said.

In fact – as of October -the Government has borrowed an additional $57b since the start of the pandemic – when measured by net core Crown debt, the most common metric of government debt.

The party had the wrong figure in an early version of the plan which was sent to media under an embargo. An accompanying press release had a more accurate calculation of $50b and the final plan, which was published at 1pm, included the more accurate $50b.

Seymour’s press secretary has admitted to sending the wrong version.

Act is not the only party to suffer from fiscal typos – Labour’s 2020 election fiscal plan had a $140b typo. National’s election plans had multiple, more serious, arithmetical errors.

The plan itself focused on tax cuts and regulatory reform, like loosening border restrictions and ditching the Government’s fair pay agreements.

“The cost of living for New Zealand families is through the roof, rents are up, mortgage rates are on the rise, the cost of food is up, petrol is up, and wages aren’t keeping up, it’s time that Kiwi battlers got some much-needed relief,

Seymour’s plan includes a cut in the middle-income tax rate from 30c in the dollar for income earned over $48,000 to 17.5 per cent.

Act said this would give the average fulltime worker $2000 more a year “to deal with the rising cost of living”.

The party would like to open the border to fully vaccinated international students at the same time as Australia, so that our export education sector can compete with theirs.

The party would also like fully vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries.

The plan would also move regions to what it argues are the “correct” traffic light colours – in effect, moving most regions into a more permissive colour.

“Regions with no cases, or regions that are among the most vaccinated places in the world, are in Orange or Green,” Act said.

The party wants MIQ for the vaccinated to be dumped “immediately”, and rapid antigen testing available for businesses to test their workforces.

The party wants to repeal the Matariki public holiday, the new sick leave entitlements and the Government’s fair pay agreements.

The fair pay agreements are yet to be legislated, with a bill expected in 2022.

On the rural front, Act wants to push for “regional” freshwater rules, the repeal of the clean car discount which puts fees on more polluting cars, and the repeal of the Zero Carbon Act.

“Act is offering straight talk and common-sense solutions. We will get borrowing, spending and debt under control.

“We will offer tax relief for hardworking families. We will stop paying people to stay home and get our country back to producing valuable goods and services,” the plan said.

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