sign uplog in
Want to go ad-free? Find out how, here.

Simon Bridges isn't planning to follow in John Key's footsteps by hiking GST and cutting the corporate tax rate, but remains open-minded as circumstances change

Simon Bridges isn't planning to follow in John Key's footsteps by hiking GST and cutting the corporate tax rate, but remains open-minded as circumstances change
Simon Bridges.

National leader Simon Bridges isn’t planning to increase goods and services tax (GST), should he be elected into government. But he isn’t ruling this out.

Asked by AM Show presenter, Duncan Garner, whether he’d rule out an increase, he said, “Yes on the whole.”

Pressed on why he said “on the whole”, Bridges responded: “When the circumstances change, just as I’ve said with minimum wage, actually you have to be open to a range of things.

“That’s not part of my plan for New Zealand right now.”

National, in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis in 2010, went against what it campaigned on ahead of the 2008 election, and increased GST from 12.5% to 15%.

It offset this by cutting personal income tax rates across all bands, reducing company tax from 30% to 28% and lowering the top PIE rate from 30% to 28%, among making other changes.

Asked whether he would hike GST as a part of a similar “tax cuts” package, Bridges said: “It’s not on the table, as much as it’s not part of our plan…

“I think the basic issue is that household budgets and kiwi businesses need a bit more money in their pocket to deal with what’s coming at them.”

Following a final push at the end of the interview, Bridges reiterated: “It’s not part of the plan.”

Asked again, he said: “I’ve given you a lot more clarity in policy… than you’re getting from the Government right now.”

Bridges also said: “Broad company tax cuts are not part of our plan at the current time.”

But once again, he said: “When the circumstances change, we need to retain an openness.”

National has promised income tax cuts that would benefit the “average” income earner. It’s yet to provide detail around this policy.

It on Tuesday urged the Government to defer the April 1 minimum wage rise (from $17.70 to $18.90) by six months, due to the strain COVID-19 is putting on businesses.

ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner on Monday said this would be a “no-brainer”, while ACT made the call last week.

“Minimum wage has increased 12% since 2017, and the 1 April 2020 increase would take it to a 20% increase in three years,” Bridges said.

“Everyone wants to see higher incomes, but governments need to be responsive to the realities on the ground. Many businesses are struggling to keep employing workers right now which should be the priority.”

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were quick to rule out a minimum wage hike freeze on Monday, saying it was important for workers to have money in their pockets to help stimulate the economy.

ACT leader David Seymour said Labour was “blinded by ideology” on the matter.

“In February, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment predicted 6,500 fewer people in employment as a result of this year’s minimum wage increase," he said.

“That was in much better economic times.

“As ANZ and MBIE have pointed out, in the case of ‘a worsening economic context, a lower increase…would need to be considered to mitigate against disemployment’.”

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.



If anything GST should be cut to 10% Soyman.

Oxford called for Simon, they want their degree back!

Must be some Winstone supporters its Simon and Soyman


Simon Bridge will stay as the leader until the National fails to be elected to the office in 2020.

A new leader is emerging.

Jian Yang for PM!

Kidding me?

The new leader will be a J Key 2.0.

Another seagull.

Can the PM avoid all english language media? At least as shadow minister for Statistics and chief fund-raiser he only has to issue numbers not words and I'm sure we can be confident that those numbers are approved by Beijing.

Tenby Powell

Yeah nah.. another JK type of banker!


Simon Bridges is the best thing to ever happen to Labour


John Key was the best thing to ever happen to John Key.

Goods exports: down
Service exports (read- tourism and education): down
Fixed capital formation: down

The only saving grace for the NZ economy seems to be household expenditure and the self-proclaimed 'econ champ' party wants to punch holes in it by raising consumption taxes.

Third best thing, after Helen Clark and Jacinda.


"National not planning a GST hike, but won't rule it out" - aka, "National planning a GST hike, but doesn't want to lose the elections over it".
Taximon isn't as catchy as Taxcinda though.


CJ - lets stick with Ximon shall we? Covers all the bases.
National have to convince most of NZ that they are independent from China to stay relevant. I say most - they wont have to to worry about the Fed Farmers and their ilk.

Ximon is good but I like Soyman better - plays on his accent as well as his China connection

I didn't vote National but I find you and your mates teasing of Simon childish and immature. I suspect you lot would be the first to go crying to the school principal if it happened to your child in the school yard. And dont try trivializing it you clearly haven't grown up and are no better than a school yard bully yourself. Grow up and stick to the issues like an adult I really am sick of the bullying.

If not, get a life! Pollies have always been fair game for ridicule! Generally, they deserve it.
Have you been to parliament and witnessed how infantile THEY are?

The weird kiwi accent jibe is a favourite of Fritz he pulled it just two days ago when tony alexander was his target. Fritz is such a funny little bubba




One word that sums up National since 2017.


Punish the productive workers more, but not the speculative asset holders. Par for the course for Nat. Reduce GST and income tax and offset with a land tax. Would be a good way to protect incomes in the coming CV19 window.

They want to apply a sales tax heading into a period of lower growth? I think the Japanese did this recently and ended up with a substantial (6%+) economic contraction. National seemed determined to make sure they lose this election, surely the mess left by John Key can't be that bad...?

That's what I just cannot get my head around. At a time where we now appear to running headfirst into a recession (not lower growth, "negative" growth), the Nats are positioning themselves to increase GST and stymie consumption. Is their economic goal stagflation?

They need to find a way of financing income and company tax cuts...

Which party is now polling 46 % under which leader ?

Add in ACT and some sleepless nights for Labour on the horizon and so there should be.

Kiwi build and rail to airport both total fiascos.

Beneficiaries up. Childhood poverty unchanged.


Yeah, but Labour is better at math than National.

How on earth do you work that out?

-Steven Joyce told em they'd have a fiscal hole... lo and behold... softening of the debt cap (and SOEs issuing debt to avoid 'crown' debt)
-Labour told 100,000 homes wasnt achievable.... we havent even hit 1,000 yet
-Chris Hipkins couldnt do the math and work out he had enough MPs to appoint Mallard as speaker

You may disagree with National on their approach or values compared to Labour... but to suggest Labour are better at maths?... come on.

I think he means Labour understands that....

Labour + NZF + Greens = Government

and National fails to grasp.....

National + No Mates = Opposition

What do you mean 'no mates'? I remember communist Albania proudly asserting that with communist China they were 1.2 billion strong.
Simon Bridges has mates such as Guo Shengkun who is responsible for the Chinese Ministry of State Security which Professor Anne-Marie Brady, an expert on Chinese politics, described as "in charge of China's secret police". In the past he was really good mates with Jamie Lee Ross.
I have a suspicion that Simon Bridges is a really nice guy but he certainly is seriously politically maladroit.

This is seriously worrying. Our politicians are of the calibre likely to be ridiculed in Mad Magazine or the TV’s Apocalypse Now. Who complains about President Trump when we have over a hundred of the blighters equal to his buffoonery. My god to float a GST increase now. The man must have an early onset of dementia. Does he not realise that when a politician won’t rule anything out that means they are ruling it in! This guy produces more gaffes than Foot the maladroit Labour leader in the UK and he can get more feet in his mouth simultaneously than an octopus. Don’t believe there has ever been such a deluded and suicidal statement by any NZ politician, even going back to Larnach.

They're relying on ACT, they need ACT. All down to David Seymour being ideologically consistent and having some demonstrable social policies, that many NZers can relate with. Outside of that National are pretty much sleepwalking on their polling.

Are Act going to pull many votes from Labour/Greens? I can see some from NZ First but if it’s possible that a Labour/Green coalition is close, will they stick to NZ First as a safety net?

National @46%.. ACT 1-2%.... Greens and NZ First fail to make the 5%. Labour + No Mates = Opposition

Think you will find National are doing the maths.

"(and SOEs issuing debt to avoid 'crown' debt)"

After National showed Labour how to do it.

and drove solid energy broke in the process

Nope. Solid Energy went broke because, like me at the time (and Goldman Sachs) they though energy would become more expensive as scarcity onset.

What they failed to factor-in is that it is future energy - by doing future work - which underwrites energy-sector income. So there is a high-point beyond which our global 'economy' cannot afford itself. There are few who get it, even yet. One of the most coherent was a spin-off from the old Oil Drum discussion, the calibre of which I've not seen before or since. She is an Actuary, but quite big-picture in her thinking:

Quite the opposite... National sold non-controlling stakes of the power generators and used the proceeds to pay down crown debt (or at least borrow less in the wake of the GFC and Christchurch earthquakes).

Best way to reduce beneficiaries... increase the age of super


I would like to congratulate National's communist leader on abandoning capitalism completely, and seeking to tax low income earners for the benefit of high income earners and those that primarily make tax free capital gains.


We could call it trickle up economy. Although torrential flooding up sounds more accurate.

I think Comrade Bridges is inspired by Putin's leadership. I'd rather we skip the oligarchs.

Rising damp

That's what a bail out is essentially

Wealth transformation is at the end of a boom cycle the middle class gets screwed to pay for the elites. Just like your funds like kiwisaver which only go up if the market does. I call them bubble funds. And all the money you put into it goes to the elites. When it crashes you are left holding zero..

This seems to be National's modus operandi now. Attempt to disguise revenue neutral tax changes which benefit businesses & wealthy as "tax cuts".
Should Mr Brudges get into government, I imagine the "replace 2 regulations with only one regulation" policy would simply result in a set of deranged, hastily concocted regulations worse than the ones we have.

Reminds me of how National under Key promised big cuts to the ministries, yet it looked to me that MBIE grew more bloated & wasteful under Joyce (for example).

If they really wanted to add money to pockets in the short term, they would reduce GST and petrol tax

But they don't want it to come from their pockets. Someone else has to pay.

But then how would you pay for the roading projects that are needed? Raise taxes somewhere else? or cancel them?


Soymon is a gift that keeps on giving for Jacinda

I am puzzled by Ximons / Gnats policy on guns.
Fair enough extremists shouldn't be handling anything that goes bang quickly but do they wander around with a big E on their forehead? Only way to be sure is restrict everyone for starters and then have vetting to make sure there is a real need which is what Labour have.

Ximons / Gnats policy is to do the exact opposite of what Labour does. The details don't matter, they *must* oppose everything. Coz' that's what being in opposition means, right? It's in the name!

I'm puzzled by many policies that outlaw certain devices/activities/equipment/ideas. Criminals don't follow the laws and generally they break them to cause harm for their own personal gain. I don't see how theyre disincentivised or discouraged from doing so. Unfortunately, the price of their actions is often paid by the law abiding citizens.

So National increase tax rates when they were last in power and most companies including self employed are already taxed at 28% for NZ, as part of Nationals legacy. The only higher company tax rate that I can see at the moment is for Investment, Trusts and trustees - any income the trust earns, which is currently at 33%, and the high wealth group they want to reduce tax for.

Yet again National is trying to put money in to their pocket and those who already have plenty of money.
Note Bridges quote: “Broad company tax cuts are not part of our plan at the current time.”
So as usual they have no real plan to help our actual economies, they just want to keep the property market Ponzi scheme going.

Here's our current IRD Tax rates for companies:

I have never seen any analysis of how much the effective business tax take went up by eliminating the depreciation allowance on buildings. It was a tax grab in disguise. Even Comrade Cullen admitted it didn't make sense and was counter-productive.

National still can't separate the FIRE economy from the productive economy in their minds, it's just one big blur. As for ex senoir Nats getting jobs fronting CCP banks in NZ, I mean, what were they thinking, that these are nice people once you get to know them?

I suspect Simons pre empted the cannabis legalisation reeferendum and started smoking tonnes of weed daily...its the only explanation for the absolutely disappointing performance he has been delivering over the past few months. Someone knife him urgently so the real National party can be paraded to the people in all its glory!

*Toilet flush noises*


The fact that no one had staged a coup from within the National party suggests a lack of spine from the rest of the party. This guy is seriously the best they have got? Comical.

some of the nonsense he is coming up with makes one wonder if someone behind the scenes is trying to sabotage the leader, must be,
otherwise if not it does make you wonder about the national leadership and advisers

I very much doubt National even want to win the next election. How are they doing to keep the Ponzi scheme afloat when China is going to have to keep it's capital flight under lock and key. No more lovely jubilee money pouring in to NZ from China. The only other way to increase house prices is to loosen credit, lowering mortgage rates but that would be a bad idea right now with the current global economic climate.

There's something definitely in the air atm all around the world.
I thought Biden was toast but with the recent revival Ive had a look. My god is this the best they have against what surely has been the worst president of all time? You can pick Biden's stuff ups but apart from his son this 'thing' below cant belong to a presidential candidate surely

Biden did stuff up yet again with clashing with his voters over guns this time. And young voters are overwhelmingly backing Sanders. But still the Dems will probably find Biden more palatable than Bernie, shame really Bernie could certainly rip Trump apart in a debate.

You might well be right but the great mass of the marshmallow underbelly that provides the greater percentage of voting power in the USA obviously are not great judges of debates. How else could the like of Bush junior and the incumbent win three elections if not four?

Nobody in National expects to win this coming election, and they know that when they lose the leader who presided over that loss will get shit canned. Not surprising that Simon is the only one dumb enough to want the top spot at the moment.

Soyman once again Labour’s best kept secret!

How does “it is not in our plan to raise GST” equate to an increase in GST according to commentators on this site?
Also does associating a party that is promoting capitalist policies with the Chinese Communist Party automatically paint detractors as xenophobes and as such alienate the entirety of the ethnic and politically correct vote?

In response to your first paragraph

Racism is acceptable now in the world of the politically correct. Shane Jones doesn't have to reign it in so why should they.

Speculation on GST is entirely foreseeable unless you rule it out. If you can't understand this then you're not fit to be a leader or advise one.

Probably because National have proven they simply cannot be trusted on GST - say one thing to get elected, then do the opposite.

Now if we could get people to apply that to the current coalition and compare what the promised, what they immediately climbed down on and what they just flat out failed to deliver, we might get some better performing leaders. But as long as people stick with "blue team bad, red team good" or variations thereof, we'll just keep electing the same charlatans.

I don't buy into the blue team red team sort of thing, all i'm interested in is the facts. This is a fact, they blatently lied to everyone last time, so i wouldnt trust them again.

Same goes for this current lot on many things, but at least they havent (yet) raised taxes after saying they wouldn't!

I'll put my neck on the line. I think gst at 20% and every other tax flat at 20% could be a good thing. Don't know if it would cover all the bills but hey it'd be simple as.

I would second that option for a Business/Corporate Tax rate, though with the proviso that non productive economies (false economies) related to the property market should remain at the current tax rate (So that includes; Landlords, Property Investors, Trust Companies related to property and Estate Agents).
Everyone else should be on 20% Corporate Tax rate. Even the UK's current Corporate Tax rate is 19%.

Probably a good thing for most but it would stuff those on the lowest incomes

Possibly would work only if they do a tax free threshold like Australia.. Under 20K pays no tax otherwise this would stuff up those on low salary

Sure but then everything else at 20% would soon just creep up again. That’s exactly what Clark/Cullen did. Hell if that is not sufficient precedent, you may as well regard Nordmeyer as an economic liberalist.

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a's a TAX INCREASE by any other name!

Well, there you have it....a Xmas present all wrapped up with only the bow to add. The burden will fall on the lower socio-economic sector, not the navy pin-striped suit brigade.

who could forget national trying to tax paper boys income

“The truth is that John Key’s Government has imposed at least 15 new taxes:
1.GST increase from 12.5% to 15%
2.Increased taxes on KiwiSaver
3.Compulsory student loan payment increase from 10% to 12%
4.Increased tertiary fees
5.The 2012 ‘Paperboy’ tax
6.Civil Aviation Authority fees rise
7.Additional fuel tax increase of 9 cents with annual CPI increases locked in for perpetuity
8.Road User Charges increased
9.New annual student loan fees introduced
10.Massive unnecessary ACC levy increases
11.Prescription fees increased by 66%
12.New online company filing fees imposed on businesses
13.Creeping expansion of the scope of Fringe Benefit Taxes - National tried to tax car parks and plain-clothes police uniforms
14.Lowering of Working for Families abatement threshold and increasing the abatement rate, taking money out of the pockets of families
15.Imposing a $900 Family Court fee

Simon is a liar, all business costs increased under National during their last 3 terms and this media outlet needs to hold him to account for his claims. All he is positioning the party for is a tax break for high net worths while everyone else gets an increase.
'Read my new taxes.'
George Bush Senior....the republican one term presidential liar.

Same old, same old ey?

I'm surprised nobody has mention the removal of democracy in Canterbury.

No Party responsible for such a blantant mis-use of power in what was a crony resource-grab, nothing more, should ever be allowed back in the game.

But in perspective, no Party is anywhere near doing what we have to do, and we're just about out of time.

Oh that was great planning.Come the EQ’s it was already set up to vanquish the vulnerable and enrich the corporate knights.

They have form for saying they won't raise GST, then doing it:

I feel like they hav not done anything like that in over a decade and that the government of over a decade ago is vastly different from that of today.

Simon just made a big blunder by suggesting a GST increase could be on the table. Right now they tax things which promote a healthy lifestyle such as fresh fruit,veges, milk etc at the the same rate as coca cola. How moronic is that. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Separation of gst can and should be many other countries have done it. NZ id promoting an obese lifestyle through its current gst regime and 15% is already one of the highest in the world. It needs to be selective and it needs to be reduced.
Yep, tax the people more who have less disposable income ( hence a bigger percentage of their money being taxed) on the lower to middle income range who are trying to bring up a family on healthy foods and necessary things such as electricity and insurance etc, that's what an indiscriminate increase in gst does. Disgusting policy. An increase in gst would just accentuate govt. incompetence.

Bridges is too thick to feel shame

Tax discussions are always misleading - as they are not applied equally to everybody
People get carried away with the headline number and miss the bigger picture

- General workers pay tax on 100% of income, with few (if any) deductions
- General workers pay GST on everything they purchase in NZ at 15%
- Businesses + Trusts pay tax on their NET income - with a lot of deductions, depending on how good their accountant is, often times small businesses or cleverly managed businesses can pay very low tax as a % total income
- Businesses + Trusts can claim back GST on expenses, so the 15% - is not really 15%...

The headline percentage is not as important as the net tax payable as a % income