Peters the elephant in Labour’s CGT room

Labour told the Tax Working Group what they couldn’t do, and the Tax Working Group final report seems to be largely a Labour prescription. It even uses Labour-like terms such as Future of Work as well as Future of Tax. This isn’t all that surprising given the involvement of Michael Cullen.

But while the Group’s recommendations, especially on Capital Gains Tax, may look like a Labour wish list, the elephant in their room is Winston Peters and NZ First. With National saying they are against the CGT Labour will need NZ First support to get anything done.

Greens have already said that the Government won’t deserve to be re-elected unless they introduce a CGT – see James Shaw slams tax timidity, calls on Labour, NZ First to be bold with CGT.

An exchange in Parliament yesterday after the release of the report gives a good indication of where Peters is at on the CGT.

Question No. 2—Prime Minister

2. Hon PAULA BENNETT (Deputy Leader—National) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all her Government’s statements, policies, and actions?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Deputy Prime Minister) on behalf of the Prime Minister: Yes.

Hon Paula Bennett: Does she agree with comments by the Rt Hon Winston Peters in regards to capital gains tax that, “They won’t work in this country. They won’t work in any other country. They never have worked.”?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, the responsibility of the Prime Minister is for comments made by Ministers when they were Ministers, not beforehand. And, on behalf of the Prime Minister, I should not have to tell that member that.

Hon Paula Bennett: Does she agree with comments by the Rt Hon Winston Peters that, “You can’t possibly go into an election saying, ‘My tax policy will decided by a committee.’ “?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, for the second time now, I am not responsible for comments made by members of Parliament before they held a ministerial warrant under my premiership. That’s the substance of the matter and whether she agrees or not here’s the fine point about a democratic constitutional Government: that is, we’re going to consult with the people of this country in the next two weeks. [Interruption] I tell you what we can trust: somebody that hasn’t got a massive vested interest in this case, somebody that hasn’t got a massive vested interest in property, and is not now thinking about the country but just her narrow, selfish, egotistical self.

SPEAKER: I am going to remind the Deputy Prime Minister that he is speaking as the Prime Minister.

Hon Paula Bennett: No, no, let him go. Does she agree with the comments by the Deputy Prime Minister just yesterday who said, “The farming community, they are in for the long haul and there is no way a capital gains tax would have any effect on them at all.”, when today’s report says it will cost farmers $700 million a year?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, I have read the Deputy Prime Minister’s comments on the farming show. I know that he comes from a seriously agrarian background and understands the long-term ownership aspirations and intergenerational aspirations of farming families around this country, and not one of them who aspires to that will be affected by any capital gains tax.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: That’s not right. That’s not right. Read it.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: No, I’ve done some work in my time, son, not like you.

SPEAKER: Order! The pair of you.

Hon Paula Bennett: If the Prime Minister is correct in her comments, then why on earth would they be saying that it would cost $700 million a year if a capital gains tax is applied to farms?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, there is the rub. Who is saying that and what do they mean by “if”? I mean, the criteria would be whether or not this is an expanded tax, and at this point in time it is not. It’s merely a report with a number of options—all 99—and what I’d like to know on behalf of the Prime Minister is: how come they had only four hours to study this and yet had already put out their views before the report came over their desks?

Hon Paula Bennett: Does she agree with the comments by the Hon James Shaw recently who said, “The only question we should be asking ourselves is: do we deserve to be re-elected if we don’t.” with regards to implementing a capital gains tax?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, that is a fact, and I’m glad about that. This is the first fact I’ve heard thus far in question time—that Mr Shaw said that. Mr Shaw’s a visionary Minister and is looking to the full debate and discussion that’s going to take place over the next eight weeks. Why don’t we all show some patience and be prepared to consult with the public of this country, the businesses of the country, rather than give your own narrow venal views.

Hon Paula Bennett: Can she confirm that any changes as a result of the recommendations in the Tax Working Group’s report will be revenue-neutral?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, it’s very difficult to come to a report—

Hon Paula Bennett: Grant just told you to say that you haven’t made any decisions.

SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Unlike that member, doesn’t need instructions, able to think for himself, doesn’t need a speech writer, not embarrassed by being shown up every day—no. On behalf of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and her colleagues are not going to come to a decision until they have had the full consultation. And I must say, the most interested person in this is the Minister of Finance—the consultation process—and when that consultation is finished, we will share with the public our findings.

Hon Paula Bennett: You got that right.

 

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20 Comments

  1. Finbaar Rustle

     /  22nd February 2019

    Well said Winston.
    NZF and Labour are really making great strides.
    This Labour led Government is full of great MP’s and fantastic policies.
    To be honest Labour has achieved more for New Zealand
    in 18 months than national did in 9 years.

    Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  22nd February 2019

    Bennett is no match for Peters.

    Don’t tell me she has leadership aspirations!😉

    Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  22nd February 2019

      To be fair she made him look pretty foolish there. But I guess she was using Winston against himself, so it probably doesn’t count.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  22nd February 2019

        this…’Who is saying that and what do they mean by “if”? I mean, the criteria would be whether or not this is an expanded tax, and at this point in time it is not. It’s merely a report with a number of options—all 99—and what I’d like to know on behalf of the Prime Minister is: how come they had only four hours to study this and yet had already put out their views before the report came over their desks?’

        Reply
        • High Flying Duck

           /  22nd February 2019

          And that waffle was in answer to a question on whether he agreed with the statement. It was deflection – no wonder you reposted it.

          Reply
  3. Zedd

     /  22nd February 2019

    Winnie made it clear that his comments about ‘CGT’ were prior to going into coalition with Labour/becoming Dep. PM

    Welcome to real MMP folks.. “you cant always get what you want.. IF you try sometime..you might find you get what you NEED !”
    …being in Govt. WITH options.. as opposed to just getting a few scraps, thrown from Natl’s ‘top table’

    Reply
    • Zedd

       /  22nd February 2019

      Natl just need to ‘get over themselves’.. they lost the election & do not have some ‘divine right to rule’ OR dictate their selfish attitudes, to the rest of us
      Its called DEMOCRACY… 😀

      Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  22nd February 2019

        And yet Peters got his votes on a very strong anti-CGT platform – he could not have been clearer that he wouldn’t support one as he did not think they worked.
        So perhaps it’s not National who need to do anything – they are the opposition.
        NZ First needs to decide whether its constituency have any relevance or whether they need to become an extension of Labour. Not an easy choice.
        I have read (can’t remember where) that if Labour put forward legislation it becomes a confidence issue and if voted down could cause issues. Not sure how relevant that is.

        Reply
        • Zedd

           /  22nd February 2019

          Thats FPP thinking.. its called MMP; get with the program OR maybe just Duck ! 😀

          Reply
          • High Flying Duck

             /  22nd February 2019

            Taking into account the preferences of the people who voted for you is “FPP” thinking?
            Good-oh.
            If Winston takes that view, he’ll see his 3% drop to 0% because – what’s the point of voting for NZF policies?

            Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  22nd February 2019

    Entertainer of the Year contender

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  22nd February 2019

      love it…the perfect successor to Winston.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  22nd February 2019

        “The veritable Dr Cullen?” 🙄 😀

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  22nd February 2019

          arguably NZ’s best finance minister of the modern era.

          Reply
          • High Flying Duck

             /  22nd February 2019

            Steady pair of hands during a period when Mickey Mouse could have managed the economy as it was being fueled by the artificial pre-GFC money go round.
            Hard to judge in a historical context for that reason.
            He was miserly and envious of success at all times though. Managed to buy and sell KiwiRail at a massive (and ongoing) loss which was a big black mark on him.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  22nd February 2019

              He’s quite well-off, isn’t he?

            • Blazer

               /  22nd February 2019

              well he was suceeded by ‘Bill the borrower ‘…..whose lasting legacy is a debt burden for future renting generations to …repay.

  1. Peters the elephant in Labour’s CGT room — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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