19 Oct 2014

Labour contenders debate capital gains

12:47 pm on 19 October 2014

The Labour Party looks likely to change its capital gains policy, irrespective of who wins the leadership election.

Labour leadership candidates

Labour leadership candidates. (L-R) Grant Robertson, Nanaia Mahuta, Andrew Little and David Parker. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The four contenders - Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - debated together on Television New Zealand this morning.

The former Party President, Andrew Little, said Labour needed to recognise its policies, including the capital gains tax, were unpopular.

"If we, as Labour Party, we care about ensuring there is a fair society, less inequality, dealing with child poverty, we need to be in Government. We put a bunch of our things out there, asking people to vote for us, that turned people off us. We've got to be honest about that."

The former Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, said the tax was hard to explain on the campaign trail.

"People who said to me on the campaign trail, you know, we're modest income earners. All we've got is our family home. But when we die, our kids already own their home, when we pass it over to them, what's going to happen?"

The acting leader David Parker, said the tax was a good policy, but changes needed to be made.

"We had a few glitches as to how we sold it. If on review we do keep it, you can bet your boots that if it comes back under me it won't ever apply to the family home and it won't be an inheritance tax."

The former deputy leader, Grant Robertson, said Labour emphasised detailed policy, such as tax policy, too much.

"If we get obsessed on the detail of those policies then we get drawn down a path where New Zealanders don't understand what our purpose is and what we stand for."

The four contenders are about to begin a series of meetings with Labour Party members before the vote is held next month.

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