PM rules out wealth tax 'this term'

The Prime Minister says the Government has "no intention" of introducing a wealth tax "this term".

Her announcement came this afternoon after she this morning reiterated her pledge not to introduce a capital gains tax while she was Prime Minister but did not rule out a wealth tax, saying Labour was yet to form its 2023 tax policy.

In the 2020 election campaign, Jacinda Ardern was asked if she would resign as Prime Minister if her government did implement a wealth tax and replied: "I won't allow it to happen as PM."

"Our policy is not to introduce that and that remains our position. Nothing has changed," Ardern said at her weekly post-Cabinet press conference today.

She said she had "no intention of introducing a wealth tax here in this term and we are doing no further work on it".

It was her first post-Cabinet press conference for three weeks.

Ardern said gaps existed in the measurement of wealth, but emphasised the Government was not working on any new tax policies.

She said the Government was asking if the tax system was working as intended, and fairly.

"We've already set out what our policy for this term is.

"Taxpayers would want to know that people are fulfilling the obligations they already have."

Today's media conference comes as the country today reopens to international visitors from around 60 visa-waiver countries for the first time in over two years.

Like Australians already, they can now travel here without isolation if they are vaccinated and do a pre-departure and arrival test for Covid-19.

Thousands of visitors are expected to arrive today from around the world.

Ardern said travellers from the US, UK, Japan, Germany, Canada, Korea and Singapore were now arriving in New Zealand.

"At Auckland International Airport alone, 21 international flights are landing today."

Ardern said these visitors were crucial to returning New Zealand to some normality.

"The recovery has begun, and well ahead of our peak tourism season."

Flights from Houston, Chicago, and New York were in the pipeline, the PM said.

She said 18,000 visas had been granted since March 14.

"We're currently seeing 33,000 arrivals per week," the PM added.

"New Zealand is in demand."

The Great Walks booking season had just opened, Ardern said.

Speaking to a question on sea level rises, Ardern said it was a complex matter figuring out how sea level changes would impact existing infrastructure.

"It's really important [we] look not just at adaptation," the PM said, adding that New Zealand had to play its part to limit carbon emissions and take steps not to contribute to sea level rise.

On tourism, Ardern said no changes were planned in vaccination requirements, where currently unvaccinated citizens were allowed in but unvaccinated permanent residents were not.

She said work was under way on whether unvaccinated permanent residents would be allowed in.

Ardern said pre-departure testing overseas was a helpful way of boosting safe travel protocols.

Ardern has not fronted a post-Cabinet press conference since before her Singapore and Japan trip.

Since then, there has been the High Court decision ruling that although MIQ was a critical component of the Government's elimination strategy, the combination of the virtual lobby and narrow emergency criteria meant New Zealanders' rights to enter their country were infringed.

This morning Ardern also faced questions on taxation, after Revenue Minister David Parker last week started a national conversation on fairness in the tax system and potential for a wealth.

 

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