Labour - no new taxes in first term

Labour won't implement any tax changes until after the 2020 election, finance spokesman Grant Robertson has announced.

"To avoid any doubt, no one will be affected by any tax changes arising from the outcomes of the Working Group until 2021," Mr Robertson said at Parliament on Thursday morning

"There will be no new taxes or levies introduced in our first term of Government beyond those we have already announced."

The party has faced weeks of attacks from National regarding its tax plans.

"We have heard the call for New Zealanders' voices to be heard. We will involve the public at every stage of the working group, as well as Cabinet and Parliament's consideration of any changes that arise from it," said Mr Robertson.

"We know it is important to get this right, so we will balance the need for certainty and urgency by ensuring that any potential changes will not come into effect until the 2021 tax year. This gives multiple opportunities for public input, and a general election before any new tax would come into effect."

The move also comes after the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll showed Labour falling and the Greens below the 5 percent threshold.

Among the taxes Mr Robertson has ruled out changing are GST, corporate rates and income tax.

"What we will do is reverse National's proposed tax cuts and use the billions of dollars to make 70 percent of families with children better off and invest more in health, education, housing and other public services.

"Our policy also cracks down on those who are exploiting weaknesses in the tax system by speculating in the housing market. Labour will end the practice of negative gearing, and extend the current bright line test that taxes the capital gain on the sale of a property other than the family home to five years."

National has also promised no new taxes in the next three years, instead offering an income tax cut.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern had previously promised to implement changes before the 2020 election.

Reaction on the right

National leader Bill English said Labour was postponing some changes, but the party had failed the ultimate test by continuing to step back on income tax changes.

"Today they've confirmed that they're still going to proceed to take $1000 a year off people on the average wage to fund their expensive promises," he said referring to National's income tax changes.

National campaign manager Steven Joyce said Labour was starting "the long march back" but argued other tax changes confirmed in Labour's package - the Auckland regional fuel tax, clean water royalty and Tourism Infrastructure Fund levies - would slow down New Zealand's economy.

ACT leader David Seymour called it "amateur".

"Is this how Grant Robertson will react as finance minister every time he receives a bad poll? Businesses can’t operate with this kind of political volatility."

NZN / Newshub.