Jacinda Ardern still wants a capital gains tax, despite ruling it out forever

Despite ruling out ever introducing a capital gains tax, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern still believes New Zealand should have one.

Asked on Newshub Nation if she had "betrayed" Labour supporters by canning plans to introduce one after the 2020 election, Ardern said no.

"I've certainly not had that feedback from people that they take that view," she told host Simon Shepherd on Saturday morning.

"Did I believe in it? Yes. Still do."

After forming a coalition with NZ First after the 2017 election, a working group was set up to investigate how a broad-based capital gains tax could work - the aim being to make the tax system fairer by reducing the burden on lower-income and salary/wage earners, shifting it to earnings from non-productive assets like housing. 

But polling consistently showed New Zealanders were opposed, and Ardern ultimately canned the idea - not just for this term, but for as long as she's leader.

"I wasn't just thinking about the fact that we'd failed on this occasion. We'd also failed in 2011, 2014," she told Newshub Nation.

"Each time, we'd taken a different approach. This time, we took the approach of trying to bring in experts, bringing in some other voices to the debate. And it came a point where I just had to listen to what the people of New Zealand were saying."

She said being in a coalition Government also played a part, with Labour unable to get NZ First and the Greens, whose votes would have been required, to agree on how the tax would work.

"This was an issue that we just couldn't form consensus on. But I also had to acknowledge it was also an issue that Labour had campaigned on for multiple elections, and we just hadn't been able to succeed."

Ardern was hesitant to blame NZ First, despite the party's Shane Jones telling a business audience in May they could "thank me" for "killing off the capital gains tax". 

"Ultimately, they're elected by people who support certain policies, and they had held that position prior. I had hoped that time and that process we went through might've been able to change their position. It didn't."