The Muppet Show continues, this time it was Robbo’s turn to be crushed

I almost feel sorry for Grant Robertson, he had to front for Stuart Nash, and got torn apart for it.

Nashy seems to be in hiding after getting told to pull his head in by Robbo.  

Judith Collins obviously knew more about the topic than both Nashy and Robbo combined.

Hon JUDITH COLLINS (National—Papakura): To the Minister of Revenue—[Interruption].

Mr SPEAKER: And an extra supplementary question. Thank you, Mr Lees-Galloway.

6. Hon JUDITH COLLINS (National—Papakura) to the Minister of Revenue: Does he stand by all his reported statements about the collection of GST on low-value goods purchased from offshore?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON (Minister of Finance) on behalf of the Minister of Revenue: [Interruption] I know you’re excited. I stand by my statement that the previous Government did not do enough about the unfair tax advantage given to overseas companies against New Zealand small businesses. I also stand by my statement in response to the question on whether I would “pick up and run” with the work that had been started that I “absolutely will do that.” In my ambition to get on with this work, I may have got a little ahead of myself in response to further questions.

Hon Judith Collins: Did he consult with the Minister of Finance on the issue of GST on offshore low-value goods before announcing it so confidently yesterday morning; and if so, when?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: I speak often with the Minister of Finance, and we often discuss how it is that we could make the tax system fairer after nine years of Government neglect.

Hon Members: He didn’t answer the question.

Mr SPEAKER: No, I’m—

Hon Dr Nick Smith: He did not answer the question.

Mr SPEAKER: Dr Smith, you know if you’d let me make the rulings, it would make the place run a bit more smoothly. In this particular case Dr Smith is right. The question was not addressed to my satisfaction and the Minister of Revenue will have another go.

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: There have been discussions about the policy in question. [Interruption]—there have been discussions about the policy in question. I didn’t speak to the Minister of Finance immediately before my interview.

Hon Judith Collins: Who is correct, the Minister of Revenue, who said yesterday that the Government was “absolutely” going to add GST on low-value imported goods, or the Minister of Finance, who said yesterday that the Government is only looking at the issue?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: What the Minister said was in a conversation on Newstalk ZB following on from the comments of the Hon Steven Joyce, who said “the good stuff is at least slightly trickier, but actually I think it is a viable solution.” The Minister was then asked, “Presumably you’ll pick up and run with this, Stuart”, and he said, “As the revenue Minister, absolutely.”

Hon Judith Collins: So if the public can’t believe him when he says “absolutely”, when can they?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: The public can believe me when I say that I am absolutely committed to going ahead with this policy. Not unlike that member, I am ambitious.

Hon Judith Collins: Does he now realise that workable changes to the collection of GST on low-value imported goods are just a little bit more complicated than his once-over-lightly approach might suggest?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: There is no once-over-lightly process at all. We are absolutely committed to getting on with the job of doing this work that the previous Government found so tricky.

Hon Judith Collins: Why did he decline all interviews yesterday and not turn up to his planned media briefing on this very issue, after he had so confidently stated that he would absolutely bring in GST on low-value goods purchased offshore?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: The matter had been adequately dealt with by his earlier comments.

Mr SPEAKER: Before we go to question No. 7, I am going to indicate, because this matter has been the subject of a personal explanation today, that I will be a bit more flexible on the supplementaries than I might otherwise have been. Otherwise, it’s a bit unfair on the member asking the question.

I’ve been watching closely, it seems both Judith Collins and Simon O’Connor, who tore apart Kelvin Davis are following the tried and true method of questioning ministers set down by Lockwood Smith when he skewered Clark day after day over Taito Phillip Field.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.