TL;DR: The devil is always in the detail and it emerged over the weekend from the guts of the policy agreements National made with ACT and NZ First to form their coalition Government to be sworn in today.
In essence, National has kept its tax cuts in exchange for removing tougher new rules to stop smoking and agreeing to voting for ACT’s Treaty of Waitangi referendum legislation through its first reading and into an ugly select committee debate.
Along with higher tobacco tax revenuenfrom the smoking rules roll-back, National will fund it by dropping the element from its tax plan that would have helped the poorest Working For Families recipients keep more of the tax clawbacks.
The poorest families who smoke the most will pay for faster tax cuts for landlords and to keep income tax cuts for the richest earners.
At least, the then-National Government of John Key and Bill English was at pains to paint its ‘great tax switch’ of 2010 as fiscally and distributionally neutral. We’ll see more detail in Nicola Willis’ first mini-Budget around December 13, but it’s now clear it will engineer a transfer of income and wealth from the poorest and shortest-lived to those with the most wealth and the least need for extra income.