15 Dec 2017

Coalition negotiation info requests revealed

1:28 pm on 15 December 2017

New Zealand First was the only party involved in coalition talks not to make any requests for information from government officials.

Jacinda Ardern, Winston Peters, Bill English, James Shaw

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, National Party leader Bill English and Green Party leader James Shaw Photo: RNZ

The government has released all details political parties requested while they were carrying out the coalition negotiations after the September election.

There were 33 questions in total from the Greens, Labour and National, but none from New Zealand First, which conducted parallel talks with both Labour and National.

The bulk came from the Green Party, which requested costings and advice including on increasing the refugee quota to 4000, implementing its benefit changes and the cost of putting in place a capital gains tax.

Jacinda Ardern NZFirst/Labour before meeting

Jacinda Arden on her way to a meeting during coalition talks. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

None of those resulted in policies adopted by the coalition government.

Officials estimated the set-up cost of introducing a capital gains tax (excluding owner-occupied residences) would be between $10 million and $13 million, with an ongoing cost of $18 million - $28 million... Estimates of revenue were about $190 million in the first year, rising to nearly $6 billion within the decade.

The Greens were also given estimates for the economic cost of having no new coal mines (up to $441 million in the long term), no new offshore drilling ($6.2 billion), and no new fracking consents ($8.8 billion).

Labour wanted officials to put a figure on how much a government would be looking at to cover any future collective bargaining or pay equity claims, and the cost of its families incomes package.

It was told it could face a bill of just over $1 billion over the next three years.

The coalition government will progressively increase the minimum wage to $20 per hour by 2020, with the final increase taking effect in April 2021.

Officials advised they could not give specific figures about how much that would cost in terms of increases to public sector pay rates, but they gave a very cautious estimate of up to $380 million within the next three years.

The party also asked for details on how much it would cost to link Northport, near Whangarei, to Auckland by rail.

In the end, its coalition deal with New Zealand First included a feasibility study looking options to move the Ports of Auckland, with Northport given 'serious consideration'.

The only information National requested was a breakdown of immigration data, in particular the numbers of people given residency under the partner and children, and humanitarian categories, as that related to discussions it was having with New Zealand First.

Two requests from the Greens were declined; DOCs 'wish-list' for indigenous biodiversity management and information about a Zero Carbon Act.

Read: requests and responses from the Green Party, Labour and National. For more, read the State Services Commission government formation information.

The documents were released by the State Services Commission which co-ordinates the process of officials providing information to political parties for the purposes of government formation negotiations