A good interview with Andrew Little on The Nation:
Lisa Owen talks to Labour leader Andrew Little about his superannuation policy, housing, and how he plans to win the election.
Lisa Owen: Can we really afford to pay super to everyone over the age of 65?
Andrew Little: Yes, and we have to, because far too many New Zealanders right now who have a physical component to their job struggle to get to 65 right now. The idea of working another couple of years is just not acceptable.
Well, 18 months ago, you said that it was unfair and costly that people who were still working full-time got super at 65. Why are you doing a complete U-turn on that?
It’s not a complete U-turn. I stood for the leadership of the Labour Party on the basis that I was opposed to our previous policy of lifting it to 67. I absolutely stick by my policy – the leadership that I provided the Labour Party – of leaving it at 65, and that’s what we will do.
Okay, well, let’s move on to housing. Now, one of your big ideas to fix the housing crisis is KiwiBuild – 100,000 affordable homes in 10 years. Is that enough or do you think we need more now?
That 100,000 homes is on top of, you know, the build that is already happening, so all our projections are that that will make a significant difference.
You’d stick with 100,000?
We’re sticking with 100,000 over 10 years.
Negative gearing – are you going to get rid of it?
Yep, we’re going to have a look at the negative gearing rules. In principle we’re saying, “Why should investors who own these investment properties have a tax advantage?” And so we’re going to look at that, and that’s part of, you know, dealing with the speculators of the market.
So, gone – negative gearing’s gone under Labour?
Yep, pretty much.
Are you going to go higher than 36 cents?
Well, we’re not saying anything about tax rates at the moment, because we need to know where the Government is going to get to, having foreshadowed possible tax changes in – whether it’s earlier or in this budget.
Will you tell voters before the election what your tax rates are going to be?
Okay, because before the last election you balanced your budget based very heavily on the capital gains tax and the revenues that that would bring in, also raising the age of super to 67, so how are you going to pay for all your spending now?
Every commitment that we’ve made under my leadership we can pay for out of existing tax revenue. Actually the Government has achieved more tax revenue than they expected. Just earlier this week, I think, the Government said they are now expecting a surplus this year of $1 billion ahead of the Treasury projections, so the tax revenue is there. The commitments we’ve made and the phasing of those commitments in putting them in place means that we can fund those out of existing tax revenue.
Okay, well, if you can fund them out of existing tax revenue, then are you making a commitment not to raise taxes?
We’re not planning on raising taxes and we’re going to see what the Government talks about, you know, in its tax changes that it’s foreshadowed, but we are making no plan for lifting taxes.
But we just talked about the 36 cents over 150 grand.
From the previous election, yeah. This is 2017 – different election.
Yes, I know. So you’re sticking with that?
We are not planning on any tax changes for the 2017 election. We will finely calibrate what we do once we see what the Government does in its foreshadowed tax changes, which we assume will be in this year’s budget, but who knows?
Okay. Now, you’ve put Winston Peters on the Intelligence and Security Committee. You came out strong on super – he’ll love that. What else are you prepared to give him to keep him on side?
I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at, but we have good relations with all the other Opposition parties – Greens and New Zealand First.
Well, could he be the Prime Minister in a Labour government?
Absolutely not? You’re ruling it out?
What about Deputy, then?
You’re not going to start – I’m not going to start negotiating coalition arrangements when we haven’t even had an election. Please, give me a break. We’ve been very clear.
If I have the privilege after the 23rd of September to form a Government, my first phone call will go to the Greens and New Zealand First will be not far behind.
Alright. Thanks for joining us this morning. Good to talk to you.
Plenty of interesting stuff there. Read the full interview for more.
Labour 'making no plans for tax changes for the 2017 election'. So Labour doubling down on fiscal discipline. #nationnz
— Tim Watkin (@Tim_Watkin) March 10, 2017
— The Nation (@TheNationNZ) March 10, 2017
.@AndrewLittleMP says the claims Maori seat races will be close, is Maori Party spin. Labour will win them all.
— Tim Watkin (@Tim_Watkin) March 10, 2017