RNZ Morning Report
Wellington, May 1, 2018
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said “fairer” GST will be applied to international retailers ahead of the government’s policy announcement this morning.
Speaking to Morning Report, Ms Ardern said that they were expecting an announcement at 11.30 am today on the policy.
“Yes, we do … some people may not know but certainly small businesses do in New Zealand GST applies to them; but it does not apply to international retailers online for purchases under $400,” she said.
“Announcing at 11.30 am, but you can take that as an indication that we want to make it fairer and we will be.”
Finance Minister Grant Robertson in November had to rein in expectations the tax change would be imposed early on, after Revenue Minister Stuart Nash signalled the move.
Australia had also been planning to collect tax on low-value online goods from last July, but delayed implementation to July this year as it struggled to work out the practicalities.
Ms Ardern also spoke about expectations for the upcoming Budget and the challenges the government was facing in balancing unexpected costs with its spending promises.
The Labour Party promised to cut fees to visit GPs by $10 a visit on 1 July, but the Health Minister said this week the move would have to be phased in over time.
As pressure ramps up ahead of this month’s Budget, and the government facing some unexpected costs, keeping the balance as well as all the spending proposed seems a tall order.
GP visits to cost less
Ms Ardern said announcements would be made within a couple of weeks around making GP visits more accessible but said that the phasing-in of the GP visits move had been signalled.
“Making sure that we are managing our debt levels and our spending levels is one way we can make sure that we have a resilient economy and a resilient government through those unpredictable shocks,” she said.
She said the government was facing six-fold increases in DHB deficit levels since September.
“That just points to the fact that the health budget itself is significant as well and has been growing … that leads to a wider set of questions around the nature of our health budget – ageing population, increases in technology.
“When you are running a DHB, any deficit is troubling, it means you defer things like capital maintenance as we have seen in places like Counties Manukau, and it is something that any responsible government needs to address which is what we’re seeking to do in this Budget,” Ms Ardern said.
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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the RNZ Studio in Wellington this morning.
(RNZ Picture by Claire Eastham-Farrelly)