Ardern: Collins is 'morally wrong' on climate change, 'desperate' on wealth tax

Author
Derek Cheng, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 13 Oct 2020, 6:09PM
Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern, flanked by Labour MPs and candidates, during after her speech at Victoria University. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern, flanked by Labour MPs and candidates, during after her speech at Victoria University. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Ardern: Collins is 'morally wrong' on climate change, 'desperate' on wealth tax

Author
Derek Cheng, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 13 Oct 2020, 6:09PM

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern is brushing off Judith Collins' claim that the Labour leader lied over Covid-19 testing at the border.

And Ardern has fired some verbal barbs of her own, calling the National Party leader "morally wrong" on climate change, "desperate" with her ongoing claims about the Greens' wealth tax, and "simplistic" in her comments about personal responsibility and obesity.

With only four days left until polling day, the war of words between the leaders of Labour and National is showing no signs of slowing down.

Ardern and Collins both spent the day in the Wellington region, shoring up the campaigns of local candidates in marginal seats including Hutt South.

This morning Collins told media that Ardern had lied over the testing of border-facing workers and she hoped the Labour leader would sue her because she was "happy to prove it".

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern waves to supporters as she is swamped by students after her speech at Victoria University. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern waves to supporters as she is swamped by students after her speech at Victoria University. Photo / Mark Mitchell

And Collins continued to raise the scenario of Labour folding to the Greens and adopting their wealth tax in post-election negotiations.

Ardern has repeatedly dismissed this as "fiction" and "misinformation", and she did so again today.

"I have said the same thing on this policy no less than probably 50 times. I have ruled it out," Arden said.

"What you're seeing from the National Party, frankly, is desperate."

She dismissed being called a liar over testing at the border as "Opposition politics".

The Government had said on June 23 that all border-facing workers would be regularly tested, and Ardern had said publicly that it was taking place.

When she found out during the second outbreak that it wasn't happening, she brought in Heather Simpson and Sir Brian Roche to ensure the testing was implemented.

Asked about Collins' comments on obesity - she said it was an individual issue and people should take personal responsibility - Ardern said there were many contributing factors.

"If you're so simplistic simply to call it an issue of personal responsibility, then it's never going to be an issue that we collectively resolve," Ardern said.

"It's wrong. If you listen to those who work in this space, those who are experts, they would reject that - and so would I."

Ardern's sentiment is supported by Massey University fat studies' scholar Dr Cat Pause, who said Collins' comments were "heartless".

Ardern also responded to Collins' suggestion yesterday that the Labour leader was subservient to the Greens when it came to coalition talks.

"I'm not someone who takes chocolate biscuits to the bargaining table to show subservience," Collins said.

Ardern: "I brought ginger loaf [in 2017 talks]. And that's just good baking."

A factory visit, walkabout, and hundreds-strong rally

Ardern started her day in Petone with a visit to the Abstract Design factory, where she watched laser cutting technology in action and played with wooden cut-out figurines of herself, partner Clarke Gayford and Grant Robertson.

She then visited Queensgate Shopping Centre, where she was welcomed by cheers from hundreds of supporters.

Watching the masses around Ardern moving slowly through the mall, Tania Singh said the attention was understandable because of New Zealand's Covid-free status.

"I have siblings all over the world and New Zealand is where they all want to be."

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern looks fondly at a cut-out figurine of Clarke Gayford, as Hutt South candidate Ginny Anderson and Abstract Design owner Chris Baxter look on. Photo / Derek Cheng
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern looks fondly at a cut-out figurine of Clarke Gayford, as Hutt South candidate Ginny Anderson and Abstract Design owner Chris Baxter look on. Photo / Derek Cheng

She then visited Queensgate Shopping Centre, where she was welcomed by che

Lynette Frost was one of hundreds who waited patiently for a selfie.

"I love Jacinda but my vote went a different way. I'm an old farm girl. I support the farmers."

Accompanying Ardern was Labour MP and candidate Ginny Anderson, who is hoping to turn the Hutt South seat red.

It is held by National MP Chris Bishop, who beat Anderson in 2017 with a 1530 vote margin.

This morning Bishop re-committed to the Grenada to Petone link road, but Anderson said she wanted to see a business case for the road.

Ardern then headed to Victoria University where she told hundreds of students and party supporters not to follow her footsteps - she had dropped out of Victoria.

She used her speech to attack Collins - without naming her - on climate change.

Collins has repeatedly talked about New Zealand's tiny contribution to global emissions - 0.17 per cent.

"Anyone who argues that our small contribution to emissions means it doesn't matter what we do is wrong," Ardern said.

"They are morally wrong."

She likened it to New Zealand's nuclear-free stance in the 1980s, which was taken even though nuclear weapons were "of no direct link to us".

"We stand up in the same way on climate change and say, 'Everyone has a moral obligation to act.'

"But especially in the Pacific. If we do not see action on climate change, we are essentially telling our Pacific neighbours that they do not matter and we will never do that."

Ardern had sought to portray climate change as a key point of difference between her and Collins, and repeated today that New Zealand needed to play a role and trade on its "clean, green" brand.

She told the rally the election was about trust, and people should vote for "a government they can believe in".