National’s continuing to face tough questions over its tax plan and how it would be funded, with leader Christopher Luxon struggling to provide answers.
In an at times uncomfortable appearance on Q&A over the weekend, Luxon repeatedly refused to release modelling related to his foreign buyer tax/fee. The Herald’s Claire Trevett labelled it “the interview of no answers”.
Then, Luxon avoided questions from Newshub’s Jenna Lynch, walking off during a press conference without providing specifics. Lynch was questioning the National leader over what services may have to be cut in order to provide tax relief for the “squeezed middle”.
“We think there are significant savings to be made, particularly in the back office functions,” Luxon said, without providing specifics on what could be chopped. He was more at ease dressing up as a pirate and it’s worth rewatching last night’s 6pm news coverage for that alone.
Then there’s the question of Act’s potential role in a coalition and what it may want to see scrapped. As detailed in The Bulletin, Act leader David Seymour has now suggested that he was considering a confidence-only deal with National, meaning it would be able to form a government but National would have to seek approval for spending on a case-by-case basis.
At a public meeting over the weekend, Act MPs faced questions over what “bottom lines” it would take into a potential coalition with National, insisting that there weren’t any beyond a referendum on co-governance. As such, the MPs told a crowd in Kerikeri, anything else would be up for negotiation after the election.
Speaking to RNZ, National’s deputy Nicola Willis said a confidence-only arrangement with Act remained a “hypothetical” and wasn’t a situation she would “prejudge”. And on 1News, defended her party’s tax policy against claims important frontline services would be cut.
“We’ve said, let’s look at the overall increase in spending, which is up about 62%, let’s direct these agencies, protect front line services, come back to us by Christmas with what reductions you can make in your backroom costs,” Willis told Breakfast.