Otago Daily Times

Shaw on negotiatio­ns: ‘it takes two to tango’


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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