While multinational companies should absolutely pay their fair share, everyday New Zealanders are overburdened by nearly a billion dollars in taxes, Simon Bridges argued today on TVNZ1's Breakfast.
The Opposition leader's opinion comes as the Government makes moves to release a discussion document on taxing multinational services companies like Airbnb and Uber.
"The multinationals should pay their fair share, no doubt about that," Bridges said, pointing out that the process was started by the previous government. "It's very much in tandem with what other OECD countries are doing."
But while the country would add an extra $30 to $80 million to its coffers from the tax, it pales in comparison to the recent tax increases targeting Kiwis, he said.
"Look at what they're doing to New Zealanders - $600 million more [taxes] in a petrol tax; $71 million more every time we go offshore in a roaming tax on your cellphone; another $57 million in this Budget in a health and safety tax," he said. "There's the best part of a billion dollars in taxes on New Zealanders.
"The multinational stuff, it's nice, it's worthy, but it's not the real gain."
The 2019 Budget, released last week, will make it more difficult to keep up with the rapidly escalating cost of living, Mr Bridges argued.
“We need great health, we need great education, we need to invest in infrastructure," he conceded. "But once you’ve done that, I don’t think you need to spray and walk away on fees free [schools]...and a variety of other things. Actually, if you’re careful with the dollars, you can do the stuff New Zealanders want, and actually you can give back a bit of tax relief so that people have got the money to deal with the rising cost of living."
Mr Bridges' visit with Breakfast comes one day after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on the programme, sharply criticising the Opposition for its "political point scoring" move in leaking Budget 2019 details last week.