Election 2023: Chris Hipkins stakes job on promise to cut GST from fruit, veges next year

Chris Hipkins is so confident he'll be able to cut GST off fruit and vegetables next year that he's staking his job on it.  

But he's not willing to do the same that the move will actually bring prices down after advice obtained by Newshub shows it wouldn't impact the cost of fresh and frozen produce.  

What in the Watties do we have here? Why it's a Chippy packing chopped veges.

Checking out how the magic happens - how veges go from flying naked along a conveyor belt to supermarket freezer aisles for Kiwis to chuck in their stir-fries. 

He's confident that no matter the niggle, he'll be able to make good on his promise to make frozen veges GST-free by April 1. 

So confident, in fact, he'll quit if he can't.  

Asked if he was willing to stake his job on the fact that it would be in place by April 1, Hipkins said: "Yep, we will make it happen."

It's a high-stakes, high-cost policy.

Labour's promise to take GST off fruit and veges is the biggest they've made - costing $2 billion.

It's got a thumbs up from the Watties workers. 

But would it actually drive prices down?  

A health official briefing obtained by Newshub under the Official Information Act says because of how our tax system is structured "taking GST off fruit and vegetables would not result in a direct decrease in price." 

So perhaps it's wise that Hipkins isn't making the same vow to resign if prices aren't cut.  

"We will be monitoring to make sure the savings are passed on."

National's Christopher Luxon called it "bad policy". 

"A couple of cents off some beans and carrots – not going to get passed through to the consumers."

Labour made another big promise on Thursday - a new hospital for Hawke's Bay. 

"We are delivering the largest hospital upgrade programme in living memory," said Hipkins. 

One of the last hospitals Labour promised was in Dunedin, spades were in the ground a year late and its budget has blown out. 

Luxon said Labour can't deliver a pizza.

"Honestly they're that hopeless."

But Hipkins said National's track record speaks for itself, saying the party spent nine years in Government and "ran down the health system."

The parties playing track records off against each other.  

One track record isn't up for dispute though - Hipkins' hankering for sausage rolls and now he has his own personalised bottle of Wattie's finest to go with it.