'Lipstick's come off the pig': Sean Plunket blasts PM Ardern's capital gain tax backdown

Magic Talk host Sean Plunket says Wednesday's capital gains tax (CGT) backdown from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern proves the "lipstick has come off the pig".

Plunket was referring to former The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan's infamous 2017 election comments, when he called new Labour Party leader Ardern "lipstick on a pig".

"What he meant, of course, was she represented a cosmetic change to a Labour Party which had no clearly defined policies, and wasn't offering the people of New Zealand any transformation or real change, just more than the same," Plunket said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Ardern announced a CGT was not going ahead, with the Government unable to form a consensus and facing opposition to the tax by voters.

But Plunket said the Labour Party never had a CGT policy and didn't have a plan for the transformational change Ardern was selling.

"There never was a CGT that Jacinda Ardern campaigned on for three terms, for nine years - it simply didn't exist. So she got someone to make one up and then she hired an old Labour politician to sell it.

"She was never really committed to it in the first place. She was just lipstick, there was no substance."

With Ardern announcing the backdown, the "lipstick has come off the pig," said Plunket.

The radio host also reckoned she used New Zealand First, which has historically opposed the tax, to then "scrap" the policy.

"It teaches us that when you vote, you should not vote on looks alone. You should look at what a party believes in, whether it not has policies or ideas for transformational change, and just because someone makes you feel good, doesn't make them the best person to vote for.

"This is no turn-around by Jacinda Ardern. She didn't have a plan for CGT when she took over as leader of the Labour Party, and neither did the Labour Party - so really nothing has changed, except a bad idea has been discarded by the side of the road.

"We seem, in Labour, to be looking at a pig which is stuck with its nose in the trough of power and governance."

Ardern on Wednesday defended setting up the Tax Working Group to develop a set of taxation recommendations, calling it a "valuable exercise that has delivered some suggestions well beyond just the debate on CGT".

She said the Government will continue to cut red tape for business and "crack down on multi-nationals avoiding paying their fair share of tax" in New Zealand.

"We have already made changes to address base erosion and profit shifting, and we will shortly release a discussion document on options for introducing a digital services tax."

But Plunket said the Government was yet to significantly tackle issues like housing and poverty, and was concerned by what he said New Zealand First leader Winston Peter's ability to veto policies.

"I don't know where this country is going now, I don't see any bold plans."

Morgan was heavily criticised for his comments, which some have described as sexist and insulting.

But he has defended the comments as highlighting an issue of identity politics in New Zealand, where only personality mattered - not policy.


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