Labour backtracks on taxes

Labour has decided to delay any implementation of changes from its tax working group until after the 2020 election in a bid to stop any further political damage from its tax policy.

Finance spokesman Grant Robertson made the announcement this morning - a reversal of the previous position of leader Jacinda Ardern.

Ms Ardern had reserved the right to implement any changes without an electoral mandate at the 2020 election. But Mr Robertson said Labour had "heard the call for New Zealanders' voices to be heard".

"We will involve the public at every stage of the Working Group, as well as Cabinet and Parliament's consideration of any changes that arise from it.

"We know it is important to get this right, so we will balance the need for certainty and urgency by ensuring that any potential changes will not come into effect until the 2021 tax year.

Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson is promising surpluses and a reduction in government...
Grant Robertson said Labour had "heard the call for New Zealanders' voices to be heard". Photo: Gregor Richardson

"This gives multiple opportunities for public input, and a general election before any new tax would come into effect.

"To avoid any doubt, no one will be affected by any tax changes arising from the outcomes of the Working Group until 2021.

"There will be no new taxes or levies introduced in our first term of government beyond those we have already announced."

The move comes in the wake of the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, showing National on the rise and Labour on the decline.

Labour has gone into the past two elections with detailed policy on introducing a capital gains tax.

Former leader Andrew Little changed that and said the party in government would set up a tax working group - but that policy derived from it would be put to a mandate at the 2020 election. Today's announcement effectively takes Labour back to Mr Little's position.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern today said it was her "captain's call" to back down from introducing new taxes in a first term of a Labour Government because it was clear the public were concerned.

It is a reversal of the previous "captain's call" she made soon after becoming Labour leader to introduce new taxes in her first term if she believed they would help housing affordability.

Ms Ardern denied her decision was because National's attacks on the matter were damaging Labour in the polls, saying she accepted there was uncertainty about it and had listened to people.

"I have been driving our campaign and I have taken political risks but I've done that because I feel so strongly around the urgency there is around tackling the housing crisis. But I needed to also balance that against certainty for voters."

She said Labour would still legislate for new taxes in a first term - but they would not come into effect until 2021 - after a further election, which is what National has done with its tax cuts.

"This is about making sure we are providing certainty to voters but also there is still real urgency around tackling the housing crisis.

"So I will continue to undertake this work in government but we have balanced that against the need for people to be certain when they vote around exactly what they will be doing."

 

Comments

Great they are listening to the public but Labour should still have gone into this election campaign better prepared. They had 3 years to work out a taxation policy for this election.

When a governing political party is as hateful, cynical, petty and selfish as the New Zealand National Party, can we assume that they are then an accurate representation of the voting public? Corporate media hacks have gone into full attack mode and have made no attempt to mask their far right political leanings. All this feverish bile has been directed at the New Zealand Labour Party for daring to try and help all the people of this nation. Every day I pray that the pompous, racist corporate media will be buried in a Labour landslide but alas, as long as voter turnout remains at 1800s levels, there is little hope that 70% of New Zealanders are likely have any representation in the foreseeable future.