National Party Finance spokesman Bill English says Finance Minister Michael Cullen has described workers' approach to tax cuts as an Oliver Twist mentality – they will just come back for more.
"At least in Oliver Twist the poor house provided the gruel, whereas in Dr Cullen's world the poor have provided the gruel and he is reluctantly giving it back to them in teaspoonfuls."
Dr Cullen made the Oliver Twist comment at today's Finance and Expenditure Select Committee.
"There you have it. A day after Helen Clark announced tax cuts, Dr Cullen has poured another bucketful of cold water on the stolen policy of ongoing tax cuts.
"Michael Cullen doesn't like the policy. He doesn't like it because it means he will have to give up some of the taxpayer money he has hoarded over the past eight years.
"Evidence of Dr Cullen's control freakery is laid bare in the papers released after his last Budget, when he warned his colleagues that their record spending spree would keep interest rates higher for longer.
"Dr Cullen sacrificed borrowers so Labour could spend the money that taxpayers rightfully deserved."
Mr English says Helen Clark appears to be mounting a direct challenge to Dr Cullen's so-called four tests for tax cuts.
"She says there will be tax cuts. He says there might be, but then again - there might not.
"New Zealanders need only to reflect on his track record with personal tax reductions. He cancelled the so-called chewing gum tax cuts because New Zealanders weren't grateful enough – then went on to knowingly bump up interest rates.
"This isn't Oliver Twist – it's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde."