Looks like we have killed off the wealth tax

The Herald reports:

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has moved to try to kill off National’s claims she would bow to the Green Party’s wish for a by saying she would not implement a wealth tax as long as she is Prime Minister.

It is a step further than she has gone before – her previous comments on it related to the next term.

Ardern made the comment after the issue was raised yet again following Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick’s comment that it would be on the table. She was asked if she would resign if she implemented a wealth tax – the promise she had made about raising the age for superannuation.

Ardern said there was no need to make such a promise about “a hypothetical” because it would not happen.

“I won’t allow it to happen as Prime Minister.

This is a significant movement in Labour’s position. All previous statements deliberately left wriggle room. They ranged from “We will implement our policy” to “not in this term” but none of them were as categorical as what Ardern did with CGT, where she ruled it out so long as she was Prime Minister.

This shows the power of a good campaign to affect public policy. Ardern has now three times had to rule out a new tax permanently. They are:

  • No more regional fuel taxes
  • No capital gains tax
  • No asset or wealth tax

These are significant victories. Labour of course would love to have more tax revenue. They love taxing and spending. And a Labour Prime Minister has ruled out three significant taxes for as long as she is Prime Minister.

Of course, if they win, they will need to find someway to plug the 15+ years of deficits they are projecting. It is near impossible to imagine they will have fiscal discipline and cut low quality spending, so they’ll look at other taxes. What else might left activists now campaign for, having lost on CGT and wealth tax?

Maybe a Financial Transactions Tax or a Land Tax?

Anyway politics is not just about elections, but also about changing the “Overton Window” of what policies are deemed acceptable for serious political discourse. And both CGT and a wealth tax have been knocked out of contention. They’re off the table.

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