Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern says National is desperately resorting to misinformation as the parties head into the final week of the campaign.
Ardern was responding to National’s insistence that a Labour-led government would see the Green Party’s wealth tax become reality.
“I consider that the last roll of the misinformation dice,” Ardern told media after a Labour rally today.
“We’ve obviously put forward our tax policy. That is what we’re taking to voters this election. Any suggestion of picking up other parties’ plans is mischievous and wrong, and I don’t know how many times we’ve had to restate that.”
National leader Judith Collins has called today the Stop of Wealth Tax Day, claiming that a Labour-Greens government would “tax your retirement”.
Ardern and Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson have repeatedly kiboshed the wealth tax.
“It does appear that the Opposition and the National Party are trying to cause distractions,” Ardern said.
“That is not going to stop us from focusing on our plans.”
She added that Labour had played all its major policy cards because of early voting, and the final week will be about reminding voters of what’s already been announced.
The Labour faithful packed into the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington today for a rally that featured music, hilarity from MC Oscar Kightley, and speeches from Robertson and Ardern.
“Talofa – I’m Samoan, I can say that,” said Kightley, a reference to Collins’ use of the term when answering a questions from Aorere College head girl Aigagalefili Fepulea’i Tapua’i in the first leaders’ debate.
“My husband is Samoan so, talofa,” Collins had said at the start of her answer.
The crowd were treated to performances from singer Deva Mahal, and then Kightley introduced the “Stardust Orchestra”, saying dryly that their appearance at a similar rally in 2017 had clearly powered Labour to victory.
Robertson warmed up the crowd with references to Ardern’s Covid management, calling her “Dr Ardern, Medicine Woman” at one point.
He also said the National Party had more holes in its budget than a “rabbit-run golf course”, and had shifted border policy positions as it moved from “leader to leader to leader”.
In her speech, Ardern laid out a vision of New Zealand in 2030 with no one on the state housing waiting list, with child poverty halved, and with farmers selling IP to the world on how to reduce emissions.
The state house waiting list is currently about 20,000, up from about 6000 when the current Government took power. It has built about 4000 new state houses but that has not kept up with demand.
And halving child poverty by 2030 is actually less ambitious than the Government’s 10-year targets, announced in January 2018, to do just that by 2027/28.
She also talked about National’s fiscal plan.
“The alternative is an Opposition party that is focused on itself, that has lost its focus on economic responsibility and produced a plan with an $8 billion dollar hole.
“Mistakes like that cannot be laughed away, they threaten our economic recovery and put health and education at risk.”
National has admitted to a $4 billion mistake but says it doesn’t amount to much because it moves its 2034 net debt-to-GDP target from 35 per cent to 36 per cent.
Ardern also highlighted the country’s record on Covid-19.
“What started as a summertime conversation this year has led to more than 30 million cases and 1 million deaths, and it’s not over yet.
“Here at home we have lost 25 loved ones and managed 1864 cases.
“As we’ve travelled around the country campaigning this election with only limited restrictions, it hasn’t been lost on me how lucky that makes us.”
Afterwards she said she wasn’t making a pitch to be the Prime Minister all the way through to 2030.
“Voters decide that, not me.”