Otago Daily Times

Shaw on ne­go­ti­a­tions: ‘it takes two to tango’

- AU­DREY YOUNG Taxes · Politics · Business · Wellington, New Zealand · New Zealand National Party · Arbeidersparty · Jacinda Ardern · Judith Collins · Grant Robertson · New Zealand · New Zealand First · Winston Peters · Green Party of the United States · Green Party of Canada · James Shaw · Marama Davidson

WELLING­TON: The Na­tional Party was ly­ing about the Greens’ wealth tax but at least peo­ple were talk­ing about the pol­icy, Green Party co­leader James Shaw says.

He dis­missed sug­ges­tions from Labour leader Jacinda Ardern on Mon­day the pol­icy would not make it to any ne­go­ti­a­tions ta­ble be­tween Labour and the Greens.

‘‘It’s not re­ally up to her,’’ Mr Shaw said.

‘‘It takes two to tango. We’re go­ing to bring it to the ta­ble.’’

He dis­missed the claims from Na­tional leader Judith Collins that that meant Labour was go­ing to ac­cept it.

‘‘They’re ob­vi­ously ly­ing about it to try and whip up fear but they are also talk­ing about it so that tends to drive peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in fix­ing the tax sys­tem to­wards us.

‘‘It is not a bad thing at one level,’’ Mr Shaw said.

Ms Ardern and Labour fi­nance spokesman Grant Robert­son have re­peat­edly ruled out the Greens’ wealth tax of 1% on net wealth of more than $1 mil­lion and 2% on net wealth of more than $2 mil­lion — with pro­vi­sion for de­fer­ral un­til the as­set is sold.

The tax at­tack has been a fea­ture of Ms Collins’ fi­nal week in the elec­tion cam­paign, the claim be­ing that Labour would buckle to the Greens’ de­mands over the wealth tax af­ter the elec­tion, as it had over end­ing new oil and gas ex­plo­ration.

New Zealand First leader Win­ston Peters joined in yes­ter­day as well.

‘‘A wealth tax of the type be­ing floated by the Greens will crip­ple many New Zealand fam­i­lies and se­nior cit­i­zens,’’ Mr Peters said.

‘‘Due to house in­fla­tion, many of these peo­ple are as­set rich and cash poor.’’

The Green Party’s tax pol­icy is con­tained in its ‘‘poverty ac­tion plan’’, one of its six pri­or­ity pol­icy ar­eas this elec­tion.

The oth­ers are what it calls the clean energy plan, homes for all, farm­ing for the fu­ture, thriv­ing oceans and the trans­port plan.

Mr Shaw said he could un­der­stand why Labour was rul­ing out im­ple­ment­ing a wealth tax, but there were ‘‘mas­sive prob­lems re­lated to the tax sys­tem which are go­ing to have to be re­solved’’.

‘‘So if they don’t want to do this, the ques­tion is, what have they got? We’ll have that con­ver­sa­tion next week.’’

He was talk­ing about post­elec­tion coali­tion talks and con­firmed that the Greens’ pref­er­ence would be for a full coali­tion with Labour rather than a con­fi­dence and sup­ply agree­ment.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously, it de­pends on the numbers and the deal.

‘‘We want to keep the other op­tions on the ta­ble but ob­vi­ously the op­tion that has the great­est in­flu­ence is coali­tion.’’

He would also not rule out seek­ing the role of deputy prime min­is­ter, but that would also de­pend on the numbers; min­is­te­rial ap­point­ments sought would de­pend on which pol­icy ar­eas the Greens wanted to di­rect their en­er­gies to.

He also con­firmed they would ex­pect co­leader Marama David­son to be in­cluded in any min­is­te­rial con­sid­er­a­tion. — The New Zealand Herald

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James Shaw

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