Michael Wood slams 'band-aid economics' criticism as 'out of touch'

Source: 1News

Labour's Michael Wood has slammed comments by National's Nicola Willis that the Government's extension of cost of living support measures is "more band-aid economics" as a "little bit out of touch".

On Sunday, the Government announced reductions on fuel excise duty, road user charges and half price public transport are being extended until the end of January 2023.

The cuts were first announced in March for three months, but the Government then extended the deadline to August 15, before the latest extension to January 2023 on Sunday.

Willis, National's finance spokesperson and deputy leader, took to Twitter after Sunday's announcement to say it's more "band-aid economics". On the eve of an inflation update, she went on to describe the timing of the announcement as "pretty cynical".

Back in May, Willis described the Government's cost of living payment as "band-aid economics made up on the fly" and said National's plan for indexation of tax thresholds would bring more relief from the cost of living crisis and inflation. She defended the party's push on Q+A on Sunday.

"If you add together the cost of living payment and the fuel tax and public transport reductions, for your average household it's probably going to be about a $40 per week saving," the transport minister remarked on Breakfast on Monday in response.

"If Nicola Willis thinks that's a band-aid and wants to write that off, I suggest she's a little bit out of touch with what it's like to be an average family."

Wood said all National is putting forward is "big tax cuts for the rich".

"[They mean] someone like me as a Cabinet minister would save $8000 per year. We think it's much better to target the support to low and middle income families who are feeling the pressure at the moment."

Asked twice by Breakfast host Indira Stewart why the $589 million from extending the cut to the fuel excise tax and road user charges, and the $63.1 million for extending half price public transport, can't go directly into Kiwis' pockets - Wood said the Government is trying to provide support where it knows it will make a difference.

He said this is why it's been putting a "broad range of supports" - the cost of living payment, winter energy payment and more - in place.

"We know it's tough out there with these cost of living increases - most of it is globally driven and we can't entirely take that away, but all of these measures will make a real difference to Kiwi families."