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  • Robert MacCulloch

Read my Lips: No New Taxes

The line, "Read my lips: No new taxes" made by George H. W. Bush before he was elected President in 1989 could not have been any clearer. However, just one year later Bush agreed to increase several taxes as part of a 1990 budget agreement. Those famous words have become enshrined as one of the most famous broken promises by a politician.


Today, the NZ Justice Minister, Andrew Little, stated "In Labour we’ve been very clear ... No new taxes ... We will not introduce a capital gains tax". It's remarkable our Justice Minister has chosen the exact same words that President George H. W. Bush chose all those years ago.


The circumstances are not altogether different, either. Bush had to govern with the cooperation of the Democrats and his "no new taxes" broken promise came about from a compromise he made with the Democrat controlled Congress and Senate. Similarly, should Labour not gain a majority this Saturday, then they would be forced into a compromise agreement with the Green Party should they wish to form a government.


On that note, as this issue has just blown up the past few days, with the Leader of the Greens insisting he'd expect to have negotiations about a wealth tax, why have so many people voted early? A huge chunk of finance is about the option value of waiting. Why not wait to the last possible date to vote when the most information is available?