Robertson defends Ardern over capital gains tax fail after Jack Tame suggests PM 'didn't bother fighting for it'

The Finance Minister has defended Jacinda Ardern over criticism that she didn't sell a capital gains tax to New Zealand voters after the Tax Working Group made its recommendations earlier in February.

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The Finance Minister spoke with Jack Tame, who suggested the Prime Minister has been largely silent since the Tax Working Group’s report came out. Source: Breakfast

The working group, led by Sir Michael Cullen, recommended a capital gains tax be introduced, but yesterday the Prime Minister announced there would be no capital gains tax in any form under the coalition Government, and Labour would cease to campaign on such a tax.

Grant Robertson appeared on TVNZ1's Breakfast today where presenter Jack Tame put to him that Jacinda Ardern had been largely silent on selling a capital gains tax to the public over the last couple of months.

Tame said: "We’ve heard nothing since the tax working group came out. She never even got in the ring, she didn’t even bother fighting."

Mr Robertson replied: "I don’t think that’s fair. She fought as the Labour Party has for three elections in a row, we’ve got a budget that we’ll be delivering at the end of May that I think is going to make a massive difference to the wellbeing of New Zealanders in addressing issues like mental health, how we move forward on climate change, how we reduce child poverty.

He continued: "We’ve got a work programme that we’ve got that will transform New Zealand… …every government has issues in the MMP era that they don’t get over the line, this (capital gains tax) happens to be one of them."

"It happens to be one policy that we have both liked to have advanced but we didn’t, but that doesn’t mitigate the rest of what we’re doing," he says.

Tame then put it to Robertson that: "The capital gains tax was supposed to transform so many things in New Zealand, where is the transformation?" 

Mr Robertson responded: "What we wanted to do was get a policy over the line and there happens to be one that we don’t. The reality is we have got a huge work programme, it is going to improve the wellbeing and living standards in New Zealand and a budget on the 30th of May that will be very different from what you’ve seen before, I’m proud of that. There’s one issue we couldn’t do, but we’re moving forward."