NZ Election 2020: Labour's promise of no new taxes fails to convince National leader Judith Collins

Labour's promise of no new taxes if it wins another term has failed to convince National Party leader Judith Collins who says the Government is "dodgy" and Grant Robertson is spreading misinformation. 

Labour is promising a new top tax rate of 39 percent on income earned above $180,000, but is promising no new taxes or any further increases to income tax, if it wins another term. 

National's finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said on Wednesday he believes Labour's policy is "just the beginning" and speculated that Labour would "eventually widen the net" and come after middle income earners.

It earned him a rebuke from Labour leader Jacinda Ardern who described it as "misinformation", but Collins has doubled down and claims it is Labour's finance spokesperson Grant Robertson who is spreading misinformation. 

"Well I've heard quite a lot from her finance spokesperson Mr Grant Robertson which I'd have to say characterises misinformation and basically enormous speculation," Collins said on Wednesday afternoon in Wellington. 

Robertson has been lashing at National in the lead-up to the election over its un-costed policies and its plan to reduce net core Crown debt to 30 percent within roughly the next decade, an idea floated by Goldsmith in July. 

"If parties are going to be proposing new initiatives and new policies, and also trying to keep debt under control, they need to be able to explain how they're funding that, and that's what this plan does today," he said on Wednesday. 

Treasury has forecasted net core debt to reach 53.6 percent of GDP in 2024 and Robertson says National's debt target would require $80 billion in cuts to services, but Collins disagreed.

"No. Misinformation. Misinformation from Mr Robertson again," she said. "For a completely incompetent Government that hasn't been able to deliver on almost anything they've promised, I actually think it's a bit rich."

She described the Government - which is comprised of Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens - as "very dodgy with what it says" and "even dodgier" with what it does. 

Collins said earlier this week the prospect of a Labour-Greens coalition next term should "scare the bejesus" out of New Zealanders. She warned on Wednesday that Labour might agree to the Greens' tax proposals if they form a coalition. 

"Certainly, we know that the Greens who are bosom buddies with Labour on these issues have made it very clear that they'd like a wealth tax, I don't know what else they'd like to tax, probably if you die they'd want to tax you too," she said. 

"As we've seen from Labour is a lot of stuff is on the table when it comes to coalition talks and what I would say to people is that this will just be the start."

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said on Wednesday Labour has moved towards more progressive income tax, but is not addressing the growing wealth gap and inequality. 

The Greens have proposed two new top income tax brackets set at 37 percent on income over $100,000 and 42 percent on income over $150,000. They also want a wealth tax for those with a net-worth over $1 million.

Collins said taxing Kiwis to pay for the COVID-19 economic slump is not the way. 

"What we don't do as a country is tax our way out of a recession. It's really important that we have money circulating the economy and that that money is being spent on things in New Zealand and for New Zealand," she said. 

"I just think it's a very short-term measure."

Collins said on Tuesday she will release a fully costed fiscal plan after PREFU, the Treasury's economic and fiscal update, which comes out next Wednesday. 

Labour's new tax bracket is expected to generate about $500 million a year, which ACT leader David Seymour says "won't begin to repair the fiscal damage Labour has done".