The ACT Party has scaled back its plans for tax reform because it says the poor state of the economy gives it little room to manoeuvre.
Among the changes from its earlier hopes is a rise in the top tax rate for highly paid people.
"This is the problem with Grant Robertson's budget," the party leader David Seymour says.
"There is no gas left in the tank, the cupboard is bare, he has spent it all."
As a result, the party has unveiled a revised Alternative Budget, which entails sweeping plans to transform state finances and the tax system that pays for them.
But they are less sweeping than was envisioned earlier.
"I have to be honest, we are in a hole," Seymour says.
"Every time we get a fiscal update from Grant Robertson, the circumstances are worse."
So the party has revised its original plan for two tax rates, 17.5% and 28%, and is now proposing three, with a top rate of 33%.
Implementation is also deferred til the 2026-27 financial year. When all the changes are in, a 30% tax rate will stay until people earn $180,000 a year, and increase to 33% for income above that rate.
People earning below $14,000 a year would pay more tax than they do now, though ACT says there would be a tax credit to offset this.
Other parts of the Alternative Budget involve transferring the income from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from the Government to ordinary New Zealanders.
Based on Treasury’s forecasts for ETS revenues, it says payments to people would be $243 this financial year, slowing to $98 in 2027-27.
ACT also wants to abolish the Bright Line Test entirely, not reduce its threshold from ten years to two, as National plans to do. This test requires sales of investment properties to incur tax as a matter of course, depending on how long they have been owned for. But ACT says this is a capital gains tax by stealth, which makes it harder for people to plan their lives.
As revealed earlier, the party wants to increase the capacity of the adult prison system by a further 524 prisoners each year. Prisons would also take over the role of dealing with youth offenders, which would free up 160 beds at Oranga Tamariki for children in state care.
Also in ACT's plan is more defence spending, shrinkage of core Public Service numbers back to 2017 levels, an increase in public transport fares to make up half the cost of running the services and an end to the Healthy Schools Lunch Programme , which the party says involves huge waste.
ACT would gradually increase the NZ Super age to 67, at a rate of 3 months per year from the 2024 - 25 year. Once the age reached 67, it would be indexed to life expectancy, which it says would ensure the sustainability of the pension over time.
However, people would still be able to withdraw KiwiSaver funds at 65.
Entire Government programmes would be abolished, such as the Climate Emergency Response Fund, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and the Climate Change Commission. Also to go would be the Provincial Growth Fund, Callaghan Innovation, domestic and international film subsidies, workforce development councils and other things.
Even more dramatically, entire "demographic" Ministries would go, such as the Ministry for Women, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, the Ministry of Māori Development, the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, the Office for Crown-Māori Relations and the Human Rights Commission.
It says none of these changes would affect Whanau Ora or Treaty Settlements. It says the Ministries being targeted often replicate the work done by other agencies.
ACT would also halt contributions to the Super Fund while debt is outstanding, calling current policy "a leveraged bet by the Government on the stock market with taxpayers’ money.
"If taxpayers wish to invest in the stock market, they are allowed to do so. The Government should not force them to do so via proxy," Seymour says.
Similar arguments apply to the Venture Capital Fund.
In another dramatic proposal, ACT would sell down the Government stake in a number of ventures. It says the Mixed Ownership Model, which gives the state 51% of organisations such as the main electricity companies, should be applied to other state owned enterprises such as AsureQuality, New Zealand Post, KiwiRail (and the Railways Corporation), Transpower, Kordia, and others.
Kiwi Group Holdings, which owns KiwiBank and its subsidiaries, would get the same treatment, but one state agency, the farming group Landcorp, or Pamu, would be sold off entirely.
ACT envisages its programme would see State finances move from a deficit this year of $10.98 billion to a surplus of $2.73 billion in 2026 - 27.
The party is also taking aim at "middle class welfare" such as Fees Free University studies and an untargeted winter energy payment.