It is a simple question, Prime Minister …

There is an art in creating vocal sounds which appear to be words but which actually do not say anything. It must be something learned in a Communications degree.

Yesterday, the House was given a master-class in the art of obfuscation, question-ducking, interference running (by others), general smarmy sarcasm and complete lies. Quote.

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she agree with Grant Robertson, who said yesterday the Tax Working Group report did not include recommendations of taxes like a “capital gains tax, a water tax, a fertiliser tax, a nitrate tax, and agricultural emissions tax.”?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I sat in this House when member Nathan Guy rattled off a series of taxes where there was no commentary in the Tax Working Group on any of those issues. I am happy, as I said, to debate the facts of the report if there was accuracy around it. End quote.

There was NO commentary in the TWG [report] on any of those issues. Really? Quote.

Hon Simon Bridges: Is it the Prime Minister, not me, who hasn’t read Cullen’s report?


Hon Simon Bridges: Well, has she read pages 16 and 17 of volume one under the heading “Summary of recommendations of the report”, which recommends not only all of those taxes I outlined before but also recommends here an environmental footprint tax and a natural capital enhancement tax; aren’t all of those taxes recommended in this report?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: It would be good to have a rational discussion about the Tax Working Group’s recommendations—all of which, in the environmental section, ask us to consider the entirety of what’s happening in the environmental space without the scaremongering that is coming from that side of the House, and the inaccuracy from that side of the House, and, I have to say, the environmental inaction that we are having to deal with on this side of the House because of nine years of an absolute failed Government. End quote.

“I have not actually read the report because of nine years of neglect in my education.” (Perhaps I am reading between the lines here?) Quote.

Hon Simon Bridges: So is she so brave that she’s going to give New Zealand—page 16: an agricultural emissions tax, a nitrate tax, a water tax, a fertiliser tax; page 17: an environmental footprint tax, and a natural capital enhancement tax, given this is, in her words, our “nuclear-free moment”?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: At least I recognised we have a nuclear-free moment. On that side of the House, we had such inaction that the Tax Working Group felt the need to have to traverse an entire range of issues because we are dealing with environmental degradation that has built up over years—first point. Second point: we, of course, are still considering all elements of the Tax Working Group, and when we have a response, we will share it. But if the member wants to be a responsible politician, he might engage in a debate based on fact, not fiction.

Hon Simon Bridges: Can we just clear up, given that Grant Robertson doesn’t accept that those taxes are in the report, that she does indeed accept factually there is a nitrate tax, a water tax, an agricultural emissions tax, and the various other taxes I’ve mentioned actually in this Cullen working group report?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: When that member releases his workings on KiwiSaver, then let’s talk.

SPEAKER: No. [Interruption] Order! I think it wasn’t an invitation to talk. It was a direct question, which will have an appropriate response. End quote.

Mallard actually called her to task. Quote.

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I accept very few of that member’s assertions based on his record. End quote.

It is a simple question, “Are these taxes mentioned on pages 16 & 17?” It has nothing at all to do with Bridges’ record. Quote.

SPEAKER: The Prime Minister mightn’t have been in the House yesterday—I can’t remember—at the stage when I did admonish Tracey Martin for, essentially, answering a question indicating that she didn’t accept the word of the member. It was a factual question. It was properly prepared. If it was inaccurate, it’s a matter of privilege, and the Prime Minister will answer it. End quote.

Well done again Mr Speaker. Quote.

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: For clarity, I do not accept the member’s characterisation of the Tax Working Group’s report.

Hon Simon Bridges: It’s pretty simple: are there the taxes I have mentioned listed as recommendations on pages 16 and 17 of volume one of Cullen’s Tax Working Group report?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: In the interim?

Hon Simon Bridges: Yes or no?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Not with the specificity that the member has detailed.

Hon Simon Bridges: Has she read this report?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Of course I have. End quote.


Of course she has, just not pages 16 and 17 because as she clearly stated,
“there was no commentary in the Tax Working Group on any of those issues.” For the avoidance of doubt. Here are pages 16 & 17 of the Tax Working Group report.

Tax Working Group report page 16
Tax Working Group report page 17

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