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BUDGET 2014: PM's tax cut comment catches English on the hop

Tax cut comments by Prime Minister John Key appear to have caught Finance Minister Bill English on the hop.

The PM says there will be no tax cuts in this afternoon's Budget.

But, speaking last night, he added that he expected increasing surpluses, plus the government achieving its aim to get debt below 20% of GDP by 2020.

"So there are options for that additional expenditure, and they would obviously be spending by the government," the PM said at a stand-up in the Beehive.

"Or, alternatively, returning that through some sort of tax programme."

Mr Key said middle-New Zealand was an obvious group which paid a fair bit of tax and did not get a lot in return.

The PM agreed it was possible National would go into the election campaign with a tax cut promise.

When the possibility of a National tax cut promise was relayed by media to Finance Minister Bill English, he brushed it off as "speculation." When told it was Mr Key who raised the issue, he joked that he always agreed with his leader. The government's first priority would be to use projected surpluses to pay down debt, he said.

Mr English has already flagged that this afternoon's Budget will project a small surplus for the coming year.

It will also include around $1 billion in new spending, most of it earmarked for education and health, according to comments by the PM on Monday.

The PM has also hinted there will an extension to paid parental leave.

Budget 2014 will be delivered this afternoon. See NBR from 2pm for full coverage and analysis.

Comments and questions

It reminds me of the worst days of David Lange - making up policy in press conferences, without reference to Cabinet.

Yeah - and who taught Lange that trick (Muldoon maybe)?

NZ is in debt to the tune of 60 billion and already we're talking about tax cuts??

Sounds like National is the new Labour.

National are searching for votes, because they know their cat has been let out of the bag; ie. Judith Collins, for all to see how unethnical politicians and (overseas) business relations have become to get unfare advantages.

Asset sales never stacked up, and sold under the illusional promise of being sold to mum and dad investor. The facts are quite different, with their investments being scaled back in favour of some US fund. And we all know the bargain price Genesis was sold at, and who has the largest connections to the money markets in the States; Dont we?

You might be able to full the public some of the time, but not all the time. Key never fulled me, and thankfully more of the public are now starting to see the truth.

So the PM and deputy-PM can't communicate. Time to get this dysfunctional government out.

These boys do and say nothing which isn't fully rehearsed beforehand!

The election campaign is well and truly underway....

Looks like time for a nice new arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. The captain and first officer will be polishing the brass next

Catching Bill English on the hop, Yeah Right..This will be a well orchestrated slip of the tongue by JK.