NZ Election 2020: David Seymour criticises idea proposed by National as Judith Collins rules out some of ACT's policies

David Seymour has criticised an idea proposed by National of establishing a new Mental Health Minister while Judith Collins has ruled out some of ACT's policies if they enter coalition negotiations. 

ACT released its mental health policy on Monday with the caption "Mental health needs action, not another minister", with Seymour describing the plan for a Mental Health Minister as "more bureaucracy". 

Establishing a Mental Health Minister is an idea proposed by both National and the Greens during the election campaign, but Seymour only mentioned the Greens in his criticism of the idea. 

"The Greens think another minister is the answer. But another politician taking a pay rise and the baubles office, and more bureaucracy, is not how you achieve outcomes," Seymour said. 

"Our solution to reforming mental health is to create a new entity called Mental Health and Addiction New Zealand."

Seymour said this would have power to improve choice and establish a nationwide approach to tackling mental health and addiction. 

Seymour's criticism of the idea comes as Collins has made it clear she will not give in to some of ACT's policies if the two parties go into coalition negotiations after the election on Saturday. 

"Well, we won't be doing a flat tax and our tax policy is very clear," Collins told reporters on Monday. "The ACT Party and us, if we are in that position, will be discussing all the policies... We're not going to be cutting benefits."

A flat tax rate is no longer one of ACT's policies. You can read more about ACT's policies here, including how it wants to cut spending to get the country back into surplus.  

Collins has not ruled out Seymour becoming Deputy Prime Minister under a Government led by her, but the ACT leader told Magic Talk he was not interested in the position.   

Collins said as a lawyer and former Government minister she has experience in negotiations. 

"Should I be in that position to enter into negotiations along with Gerry [Brownlee] as my deputy, can I tell you this? I will not be walking along to a negotiating table with the smaller party carrying a box of chocolate biscuits to try and make peace."

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll showed National on 29.6 percent and ACT on 6.3 percent, meaning they would not have enough combined seats to form a Government.  

With 65 seats in that poll, Labour would have more than enough - in fact, it could govern alone. But the latest Colmar-Brunton poll shows Labour on 47 percent, meaning it would need support to form a Government.  

Collins has been pushing the idea that Labour would bow to the Greens and introduce their wealth tax policy, despite Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and finance spokesperson Grant Robertson repeatedly ruling it out. 

"I want to say this very clearly: we know that Jacinda Ardern wants a capital gains tax. She said that at the last election - it's her personal view - and we know that it's Grant Robertson's," Collins said. 

"It doesn't matter what she calls it, that's what she's bringing in because they have no plan to get New Zealand back to surplus that we can see in the foreseeable future. They will do anything to get into Government. Of course they will give in to the Greens."

Labour's only tax policy is to introduce a new top tax rate of 39 percent on income earned above $180,000 which is expected to generate $500 million a year. 

"My only frustration is that the National Party continues to use misinformation in their campaign," Ardern told reporters on Monday. "My view is that they should be courageous enough to debate real issues and fact, not fiction." 

Ardern would not say if she will work with the Greens after the election. 

"I'm not preempting the decision of voters. They're making their final call on Saturday. We'll see what they deliver. In the meantime, I'm campaigning for a strong mandate. I want to wait until election day before making any assumptions."

Labour is riding high in the polls but it's touch and go for their governing partners. The Greens are on a knife-edge tinkering around the 5-6 percent mark, while NZ First is polling below 5 percent, meaning they wouldn't make it back unless they won an electorate. 

"I've never written any of the parties that are currently in Parliament off. I think that we, in an MMP environment, do need to wait and see what election day delivers. I've consistently said I'm proud of what we achieved in Government as those three parties," Ardern said. 

"You'll have seen out on the campaign trail I've not been dismissive of those other parties because of the working relationship we've had. But election time my job's to campaign for Labour."