NZ First deputy leader Shane Jones has indicated that the party is not willing to budge on National’s plan to allow wealthy foreign buyers back into the housing market, saying today that while the bulk of the deals were done the “jagged edges” of tax policy was a sticking point.
Jones arrived back in Wellington ahead of his leader Winston Peters, who was expected to arrive later today ahead of a NZ First caucus meeting tomorrow morning.
He told the NZ Herald there had been a lot of progress: “but there’s still the jagged edges of tax policy to deal with”.
National Party leader Christopher Luxon and Act leader David Seymour were still in Auckland today, but had not had further talks today. Instead, the negotiating teams were working through the documents following a weekend of long talks.
It is understood Luxon, Peters and Seymour have still not yet met all together.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and National leader Christopher Luxon are yet to agree on coalition arrangements. Photo / Dean Purcell
On RNZ this morning, Luxon repeatedly refused to say that the tax cuts package that would be delivered was the same as that National campaigned on, in terms of timing, scope and the way it would be paid for.
Instead, he repeatedly said only that National would still deliver “tax relief” to lower and middle income earners.
He indicated National had had to budge on some issues, pointing to “trade-offs” being required from everybody involved in the talks.
- Nats will deliver tax relief despite Act, NZ First concerns - Luxon
- Winston Peters blames delayed negotiations on decision supported by...Winston Peters
- National considering NZ First policy requests as Act leader lands in Wellington
- Winston Peters confident Govt can be formed but could still walk away- report
Luxon and Seymour are both believed to be returning to Wellington tomorrow, but it is still not known whether that will be to ink the deal – or for more talks. As of this morning, neither side had an agreement that was ready to take to their caucus or boards for sign-off.
National’s tax policy is believed to be the sticking point for both NZ First and Act.
Jones has previously made it clear that NZ First is strongly opposed to National’s policy to alter the existing ban on foreign buyers by exempting those who buy properties for $2 million or more.
That was a key part of National’s plans to pay for its tax cuts, by taxing those buyers 15 per cent.
Luxon said this morning that it was now “unlikely” he would be able to attend Apec, however it has not yet been ruled out completely.
Even if the details of the agreements are settled, the parties would need to get sign-off from their caucuses and boards before Luxon could go to the Governor-General and the new government could be sworn in.
In the event Luxon cannot attend, it is likely either caretaker Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will go, or Trade Minister Damien O’Connor. An “observer” from the National Party could also attend.
The Labour government was sworn in again on Saturday to continue to act as a caretaker government until a new government was formed.
Claire Trevett is the NZ Herald’s political editor, based at Parliament in Wellington. She started at the NZ Herald in 2003 and joined the Press Gallery team in 2007. She is a life member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you