Simon Bridges hails PM Jacinda Ardern's capital gains tax u-turn as victory

by Jo Moir / 18 April, 2019
Watch a video of the full announcement here.

The National Party is calling the u-turn on a capital gains tax a massive failure for the Prime Minister, but Jacinda Ardern says she's delivering what the public asked for - or in this case, didn't ask for.

Ms Ardern has abandoned any plans to implement the tax - not just under this government, but for as long as she's in charge.

New Zealand First wouldn't support the tax, which has left Labour bereft of its flagship policy and the Greens swallowing yet another dead rat.

At 2pm yesterday the country tuned in to hear the Government's response to the Tax Working Group and a capital gains tax.

Ms Ardern arrived at the Beehive theatrette on her own, no finance or revenue minister by her side, and very quickly declared there would be no capital gains tax.

"Today I am announcing that the coalition government has ruled out implementing a capital gains tax."

An audible gasp followed.

In Tauranga, Opposition leader Simon Bridges hailed it a victory for National.

"I think what you have is a massive defeat for the prime minister in her so-called year of delivery, on her flagship economic policy, she hasn't got there. She still believes in it but it hasn't happened.

"We'll take the win in National. We think it's our relentless opposition that's got that position, we've embarrassed the government into this."

It was New Zealand First's unwillingness that put the final nail in the coffin of the tax that Labour has campaigned on for the last three elections and the Greens the last two decades.

But it isn't her deputy, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters that Ms Ardern is holding responsible for the surprise move.

Despite countless efforts from Labour she's resigned to the fact the party's ultimately been unsuccessful in building a mandate.

"For that reason I am today setting out that for certainty's sake that under my leadership we will no longer campaign for, or implement, a capital gains tax. Not because I don't believe in it, but because I don't believe New Zealand does."

National Party leader Simon Bridges said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's capital gains tax u-turn was a "massive defeat". Photo: RNZ

National Party leader Simon Bridges said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's capital gains tax u-turn was a "massive defeat". Photo: RNZ

Mr Peters said although he blocked a capital gains tax the almost $2 million Tax Working Group had still been a worthwhile exercise.

"I've never seen anywhere in the world where the state of purpose for which it was introduced ended up being successful. We decided there are better ways in which we might reform our tax system to give people a fairer go and where the gap between the rich and the poor can be closed, but this is not the pathway."

The Green Party co-leader James Shaw has been dealt two hefty blows - not only the confirmation the tax has been ditched but that Ms Ardern has also taken it off the table in the future.

In February on Morning Report he boldly suggested the government didn't deserved to be re-elected if it didn't follow through with a capital gains tax.

Now he's changed his mind.

"Yes this government does deserve to be re-elected. We are taking bold action on climate change, on ending homelessness [and] on cleaning up our rivers."

While Mr Peters said his party stymied the tax because it was too complex and wouldn't achieve its stated purpose, the fact the it has been wiped off the slate altogether has raised questions about who really holds the power in the coalition government.

Batting away questions repeatedly about whether the tail is wagging the dog - Mr Peters momentarily let the diplomatic facade down when asked whether there might be a quid pro quo with Labour.

"May I remind you that the Labour Party is in government because of my party. We had choices when no other party did."

With the controversial tax dead and buried just in time for Easter, the government will hope it can rise again when Parliament returns and starts work on land banking and speculation changes, which have survived another day.

This article was first published on Radio NZ.

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

What you need to know about knee replacements
105774 2019-05-26 00:00:00Z Health

What you need to know about knee replacements

by Ruth Nichol

Replacement knee joints are giving thousands of Kiwis decades of service, but don’t rush to get one.

Read more
How a hit romcom took indigenous Aussie star Miranda Tapsell back to her roots
106072 2019-05-25 00:00:00Z Movies

How a hit romcom took indigenous Aussie star Miran…

by Russell Baillie

Miranda Tapsell tells Russell Baillie how she came up with Top End Wedding and why its Northern Territory setting means so much.

Read more
The link between cardiovascular health and dementia
105915 2019-05-25 00:00:00Z Health

The link between cardiovascular health and dementi…

by Nicky Pellegrino

New research into the brain has found that cardiovascular ill health is linked to cognitive decline and dementia.

Read more
Following the call of New Zealand's abandoned freezing works
106317 2019-05-25 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Following the call of New Zealand's abandoned free…

by John Summers

John Summers wonders if his abiding interest in New Zealand’s abandoned freezing works is actually a long farewell to his grandfather.

Read more
Tech Week: Time to celebrate Aotearoa’s own overlooked moonshot
106359 2019-05-25 00:00:00Z Tech

Tech Week: Time to celebrate Aotearoa’s own overlo…

by Peter Griffin

“We bow down to this idea of Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos going to Mars, when here in our own country, we had the equivalent."

Read more
Kiwi composer John Rimmer: An instrumental figure
106331 2019-05-24 11:09:35Z Music

Kiwi composer John Rimmer: An instrumental figure

by Elizabeth Kerr

Contemporaries and students are paying tribute to composer John Rimmer and his musical legacy.

Read more
Why Caroline Easther is thanking her Lucky stars
106325 2019-05-24 10:39:21Z Music

Why Caroline Easther is thanking her Lucky stars

by James Belfield

Well-known drummer Caroline Easther has stepped out front with a debut solo album.

Read more
Comedian buys Destiny Church's new political party's domain names
106322 2019-05-24 00:00:00Z Politics

Comedian buys Destiny Church's new political party…

by RNZ

Comedian Tim Batt buys up domains for new Brian Tamaki-backed political party.

Read more