Labour de­fers tax changes to 2021

Marlborough Express - - NEWS - HENRY COOKE

Labour will wait un­til a sec­ond term be­fore any tax changes from its work­ing group will be in­tro­duced.

It made the U-turn af­ter sus­tained at­tacks from the Na­tional Party over the vague­ness of its tax plans.

Other than Labour’s al­ready an­nounced po­lices – such as can­celling Na­tional’s planned tax cuts, ex­tend­ing the bright line test to five years, and in­tro­duc­ing wa­ter and tourist levies – no new taxes or changes would kick in be­fore the next elec­tion, Labour said on Thurs­day.

They would leg­is­late for the changes be­fore the elec­tion but noth­ing would hit un­til April 1 2021 - af­ter the 2020 elec­tion.

‘‘We will un­der­take the work and we will take it through to leg­is­la­tion. But no out­comes from the tax work­ing group will come into force un­til the 2021 tax year - ie 1 April 2021,’’ fi­nance spokesman Grant Robert­son said.

Robert­son said this was a good bal­ance be­tween the ur­gency of the is­sue and the cer­tainty New Zealan­ders wanted.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said it was her call to de­lay the im­ple­men­ta­tion un­til af­ter the 2020 elec­tion.

‘‘I heard from vot­ers they wanted some cer­tainty,’’ Ardern said.

‘‘I’m still do­ing the work; that work is still im­por­tant.’’

Robert­son said Na­tional had been scare­mon­ger­ing.

‘‘The Na­tional Party have been spin­ning lies that Labour are in­creas­ing per­sonal taxes. We are not,’’ Robert­son said.

Labour said it would not make any changes to cor­po­rate tax rates, per­sonal in­come tax, or GST.

‘‘Every sin­gle one of the com­mit­ments that Labour has made for the next term of Govern­ment ... all of that work is fully costed for and paid for by ex­ist­ing rev­enue.

‘‘It never did and it never will rely on rev­enue from the tax work­ing group.’’

The party has been un­der sus­tained pres­sure from the Govern­ment and the me­dia to clar­ify ex­actly what its tax­a­tion work­ing group, which they are set­ting up to com­bat the hous­ing cri­sis, will be look­ing at.

Ardern had al­ready ruled out any taxes on the fam­ily home or the land un­der it, and any in­creases to per­sonal in­come tax.

Robert­son and rev­enue spokesman Michael Wood said Labour would re­verse Na­tional’s pro­posed tax cuts and use the ‘‘bil­lions of dol­lars’’ to make 70 per cent of fam­i­lies with chil­dren bet­ter off and in­vest more in health, ed­u­ca­tion, hous­ing and other pub­lic ser­vices.

‘‘Our pol­icy also cracks down on those who are ex­ploit­ing weak­nesses in the tax sys­tem by spec­u­lat­ing in the hous­ing mar­ket,’’ they said.

‘‘Labour will end the prac­tice of neg­a­tive gear­ing, and ex­tend the cur­rent bright line test that taxes the cap­i­tal gain on the sale of a prop­erty other than the fam­ily home to five years.’’

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