Greens determined to 'even up playing field'

News 18/04/2019

James Shaw has laughed off suggestions his party should team up with National, after failing to get a capital gains tax (CGT) as part of the present Government.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday ruled out a CGT "under my leadership in the future", saying "many New Zealanders" don't believe in it. And with the National Party furiously opposed to any new forms of CGT, it's now likely to be off the political agenda for years.

"No one party gets everything that it wants," Shaw, co-leader of the Green Party, told The AM Show on Thursday.

Ultimately that's what coalition Government is about

"The blame - or credit, depending on your point of view - for spiking the CGT goes to New Zealand First", Shaw said, while maintaining he has "no regrets" about supporting the Labour-NZ First coalition.

Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope said NZ First was "holding the Government to account for where they see policy issues which are kind of a bridge too far".

The CGT was promoted as a fairer way to tax income, as it would have allowed taxes for salary and wage earners to be lowered, shifting more of the tax burden onto people whose income came from selling assets, like property and businesses.

"I had hoped that this would be our chance to even up the playing field when it comes to the tax system, but I guess we're just going to have to park that up for the moment," said Shaw. "Some things take time, as the guy in the cheese ads used to say."

National MP Judith Collins told The AM Show the Greens would get more if they sided with National.

"The Green Party lost their green credentials. I am here to help them. They should come to the National Party because we care more about the environment."

Shaw thought that suggestion was ridiculous.

"If you honestly think that we would get more progress on any of those issues - whether its mental health, or housing and homelessness, or clean water, or climate change - with National than we do under the current Government"

I'll pick the current Government every single time

"We have got so much on our agenda, more than we had in the previous 20 years in Opposition."


James Shaw and Judith Collins. Photo credit: Newshub.

Disappointed youth

Despite being limited to investment properties only, one of the aims of a CGT would be to keep house price inflation in check. Student and renting groups are disappointed it won't happen anytime soon.

"They believe that the New Zealand public isn't ready for the capital gains tax," said New Zealand Union of Students' Associations president James Ranstead, "we'd challenge that."

we're definitely sure that students - and youth in general - are in support.

He said it would "really stamp our mark on the growing amounts of inequality New Zealand has seen over the past few decades".

Auckland Action Against Poverty's Ricardo Menendez March can't believe the Government's sticking with the status quo when it comes to property speculation.

"[It's] really a continuation of what we had under the previous Government. What is the point of having the Government talk about change, if they're just going to keep things the same way?"

The CGT wasn't the only policy recommendation in the Tax Working Group's report however.

"There's 90 other recommendations in the Tax Working Group report that the whole group supported, including us," said Hope, who was a member of the group. "Some of it won't be tinkering. Yes, we support those things."

Shaw said the Greens would continue to try and find ways to make the tax system fairer.

Collins has doubts.

"Why would we trust anything you guys say?" she told Labour's Carmel Sepuloni, appearing alongside her.

"You say 'let's do this'. Well, do what? Yeah. exactly. Reverse [makes car noise]. What do they say, you know?  As many reverse gears as an Italian tank?"

The AM Show / Newshub reporter Dan Satherley