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No hints on Little's alternative budget

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017 Karen Sweeney

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Labour will present what party leader Andrew Little is calling his "alternative budget" but he won't be drawn yet on what it will, or won't, include.

The first glimpse of Labour's plans for the economy, should it be elected in September, will be revealed within weeks.

It might not be a complete re-write of the government's budget, with some aspects not necessarily facing the chop.

Mr Little said, despite voting against the government's family tax package, Labour was broadly supportive of the Working for Families changes and the Accommodation Supplement increase.

But the tax threshold changes aren't so safe.

"As we go and put our fiscal plan together we'll work out what we do, but we do not support the tax plan that skews heavily in favour of those on higher incomes," he said.

Changes to the tax bracket mean low income earners taking home upwards of $22,000 a year will end up with an extra $10.77 a week in their pockets, while those earning $52,000 or more a year will have an extra $20.38 a week to play with.

That also benefited taxpayers earning more than $72,000 a year, but Mr Little said they didn't need that extra money - $1060 a year.

"Under the changes that the government's put in its budget, Bill English and I both get an extra 20 bucks a week in the hand," he said.

"We don't need an extra 20 buck a week in hand, not when kids are having to have their lessons delivered in gymnasiums and school halls, not when 60,000 New Zealanders can't get hospital treatment that they need."

He wouldn't speculate on what his budget might look like instead, saying while the government had months and hundreds of public servants to come up with the numbers his team had only had a few days.

"We cannot put an alternative plan together in four days so we'll take the time to do it properly, do the detailed work and come up with a plan that is about giving confidence to New Zealanders," he said.

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