With less than a week to go until the election, Greens leader James Shaw has reopened the capital gains tax debate by saying he would argue in any coalition negotiations with Labour for a capital gains tax in their first term.
In an interview with Corin Dann on TVNZ’s Q+A, Shaw said the Greens would push Labour to enact a capital gains tax in its first term, although he said it would not be a condition for support.
Labour had sought to neutralise the issue on Thursday by saying Labour would not enact a capital gains tax (excluding the family home) that applied before 2021. Shaw’s comment reintroduces the potential for an earlier capital gains tax and commentators said it gave National another chance to attack Labour over the issue.
“Shaw wants Ardern to do a CGT in 1st term. Labour slaps head, knowing it will spend next day denying it again. National rubs hands,” RNZ’s Tim Watkin tweeted this morning.
Massey University political scientist Claire Robinson also said National may look to revise its attack ads after the announcement.
Elsewhere in a full suite of live interviews with Bill English, Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters, Peters said a capital gains tax would be off the table in any negotiations with Labour.
New polls show tight race
In further signs of a volatile electorate and a tight race between National and Labour, two new polls were released with wildly varying results for the minor parties and the two major parties being neck and neck.
A poll by Horizon Research of 846 registered voters randomly selected from an online panel found support for Labour at 38.2 percent and support for National at 38.5 percent. New Zealand First had support of 9.8 percent and Green support was at 7.7 percent.
The poll taken from September 9 to 14 was weighted by region, gender and age to ensure it represented the adult New Zealand population as at the last census. It found support for The Opportunities Party at 2.3 percent, ACT at 1.4 percent and the Maori Party at 0.6 percent.
The poll found support for Labour was strongest among women (42 percent of women support Labour and 33 percent support National, while 44 percent of men support National and 34 percent support Labour) and the young (52 percent of 18-24 year olds support Labour and 25 percent support National.)
The latest Roy Morgan poll taken by landline and mobile from August 28 to September 10 found support for National at 40 percent, down 2.5 percent from the Roy Morgan poll taken a month earlier.
Support for Labour was up 14.4 percent from the previous poll at 39.5 percent. Support for Greens was at nine percent, unchanged from a month ago. New Zealand First support was down 5.5 percent to six percent. The Maori Party was up 0.5 percent to two percent. The Opportunities Party was unchanged at two percent and ACT was down 0.2 percent at 0.5 percent.
Fluffy dogs wearing National merch
English mingled with voters at the La Cigale French Market in Parnell on Sunday morning, along with local list MP Paul Goldsmith and his fluffy dog ‘Langer’ in a national blue t-shirt.
Jet fuel shortage forces flight cancellations
He then went on to Botany Town Centre for an event with local National MPs Jami-Lee Ross and Judith Collins.
English gave his daily news conference at this event and was asked about a leak in the line for jet fuel between the Marsden Point and Auckland Airport that forced airlines to cancel flights today because of a shortage of jet fuel.
English said he was briefed on the pipeline issue this morning.
He had instructed ministers to provide whatever help necessary to the oil companies and expected them to brief the public this afternoon.
Energy minister Judith Collins said she had spoken to the chief executives of the companies and told them to ask for whatever help the government agencies could provide.
She said it was an issue relating to aviation rather than general fuel supplies.
“The companies have obviously got a contingency plan and they are going to be working through that today.”
English did not believe there had been safety issues to personnel arising from the supply problem.
“All we know is they’ve got some problems with the pipeline and the companies are on top of the detail,” he said.
“I’ve been advised there could be an impact while they solve this problem that they’ve been aware of for a few days. It is the sort of problem that will require government agencies and the companies to work together.”
Refining NZ, which operates the refinery, has said a leak in the jet fuel line was discovered eight kilometres south of the refinery on Thursday afternoon and the line had been closed for repairs ever since, with no clear date for it to reopen.
Families Package served up again
English used the event at the Botany Town Centre to launch a re-heated package of previously announced ‘families’ policies.
English said it was a ‘gathering up’ of policies:
– the April 1 tax cut and benefits package;
– the national standards policy;
– extending cheap doctors’ visits;
– expanding Homestart deposit assistance for first home buyers; and
– expanding paid parental leave, for both parents to be off at once.
He said National’s support for families was sustainable, whereas those he described as ‘our opponents’ would need to go into debt to pay for their promises.
“We can afford it. We can sustain it,” English said.
“We’re going to put cash in the pockets of families so they can make decisions about how to use that cash for their own benefit.”
National Leader Bill English is campaigning in Parnell and Botany Town centre today, while Jacinda Ardern is in Hamilton.
Polling stations opened on Monday and 300,000 people had voted by the end of Friday, which was double the number who had voted at the same stage in the 2014 campaign and quadruple the number who voted at a similar stage in the 2011 campaign.
There are five full days of campaigning to go after today.
The last leaders’ debate is on Wednesday night on TVNZ.
Winston Peters has said which party he would support in Government by October 12, which is when the writs confirming the election results are returned.
(Updated 12.55 pm)