NZ Election 2020: Jacinda Ardern rubbishes 'desperate' wealth tax attacks: 'I won't allow it to happen as Prime Minister'

Jacinda Ardern is rubbishing National's "desperate" wealth tax attacks, promising yet again that Labour will not introduce one if it wins the election. 

"I won't allow it to happen as Prime Minister," she told reporters on Wednesday, after National leader Judith Collins continued speculation that Labour would bow to the Greens and introduce a wealth tax. 

"Obviously I've already ruled it out," Ardern said. "The fact that the Opposition continue to raise it is unfortunately a desperate tactic in the closing days of the campaign. I have made my position and Labour's position very, very clear. We have ruled it out."

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick told Magic Talk there are "ongoing discussions" about walking away from a post-election deal with Labour if the Greens don't get a wealth tax, but Ardern said that doesn't concern her. 

"I'm not going to get into whatever discussions are being had by backbench MPs. What I am very clear on is Labour's position and my position - we've ruled it out and they've made it clear that they don't have bottom lines."

Ardern referred to Green Party co-leader James Shaw telling RNZ last month a wealth tax is not one of the party's bottom lines, and said Green MP Julie Anne Genter "mispoke" when she said it was. 

"I reflect on the comments that have been made by the Green Party leadership. James Shaw himself has acknowledged they don't have bottom lines, and I've made my position and Labour's position very clear."

But Shaw told RNZ earlier this week they would expect to have negotiations about a wealth tax if Labour and the Greens were to form a coalition after the election. 

"Yes, I do," he said. "I don't know how those negotiations are going to go of course, that depends on the election on Saturday ... You've got to give voters a chance to have their say."

Ardern said she was disappointed in National's "desperate" speculation that Labour would introduce a wealth tax despite Labour repeatedly ruling it out. 

"We are having to deal with the desperation and the misinformation of the National Party... We said right from the beginning that we wanted this campaign to be accurate," she said. 

"We wanted it to be a debate on facts. So, it is incredibly disappointing to see the continued misinformation by the National Party, and so we've been very clear and firm on our position."

Collins said her speculation is "very real" and said Ardern shouldn't resort to name-calling, after she was told the Labour leader called National desperate. 

"Did she really? Oh, she shouldn't go into name-calling." 

Collins is still convinced Labour will introduce a wealth tax and that Shaw could get it across the line in coalition negotiations. 

"Well, he certainly seems to think so, doesn't he? And Chlöe Swarbrick does," Collins said. "Yeah, I reckon we're right."

Ardern said Labour has already released its tax policy, which 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. 

"We've already put forward our policy which is to bring in a new top tax rate. That's the policy we've brought forward. We've also said we want to make gains on digital services tax. That's another area where we believe we don't have fairness in our tax system," Ardern said. 

"Keeping in mind, one of the reasons we have ruled out the Green Party policy is because no other country has this form of taxation. Now is not the time to be experimenting with tax policy when we need to focus on our economic recovery."

Other countries have introduced tax on capital gains, but Ardern has ruled it out as an option for New Zealand under her leadership, after backlash when it was proposed by the Government in 2018. 

"The wealth tax is very different," Ardern said. "Again, I've ruled it out because in our view, our tax policy is what we wanted to take to the election, and also now is not the time for experimental tax policy."