Finance Minister English ejected from Question Time in Parliament as debate over Labour's capital gains tax policy gets heated

Finance Minister English ejected from Question Time in Parliament as debate over Labour's capital gains tax policy gets heated

Labour's new tax policy has claimed its first Parliamentary victim, with Finance Minister Bill English ejected from the the House of Representatives in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon while debating the effectiveness of a capital gains tax.

English was given his marching orders by Speaker Lockwood Smith during Question Time, after carrying on speaking and attacking Labour's policy while Smith was on his feet in an attempt to halt English's answer - a big no-no in Parliament's rules.

English had been asked by Labour’s Trevor Mallard: “In light of the Prime Minister’s statement that we actually have a capital gains tax in New Zealand, what is the current list of exemptions from that tax?”

In a Parliamentary twist, Smith had previously been close to sending Mallard from the House during a previous question, after Mallard had repeatedly interjected while another Minister answered on another issue.

English replied by saying Mallard could “look up the Tax Act” if he wanted to see the current list.

“But what I can tell you is that the package of measures which involve bigger government spending,...”

At this point Smith rose to his feet – a sign in the House that members must resume their seat and stop speaking. However English continued: “...new taxes and more debt is bad for the economy.”

After English had resumed his seat, Smith took a stern tone with him, asking why he shouldn’t send English from the House.

“He clearly saw me on my feet, and was determined – the question asked was a fair question in fact, asking the Minister of Finance what the exemptions were from the existing capital gains tax. That is actually a fair question, and the House could perhaps expect the Minister of Finance to know that," Smith said.

“Now to then...answer it by talking about the Labour Party’s policy when I’m on my feet is actually unacceptable totally.”

Another no-no in Parliament’s myriad of rules is that, as a government minister is not responsible for the opposition’s policy, a minister cannot talk about the opposition's policy when not asked about it – in this case Mallard’s question had not.

After an indication from Labour it had no more questions for English, Smith concluded: “I’ll ask the Minister of Finance to leave the House.”

And despite the ejection, which would happen rarely, if at all, in a Parliamentarian's lifetime, English was all smiles as he walked back through the foyer of Parliament House towards the Beehive, his job done for the day, of condemning Labour's new policy.

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9 Comments

In reference to Mallard's question, "

In light of the Prime Minister’s statement that we actually have a capital gains tax in New Zealand, what is the current list of exemptions from that tax?

I know we have a defacto CGT on family owned companies, but I doubt that is what Key's would have been referring to here, as he wouldn't be bragging about it, so to what is he referring?

Property trading, intention to sell, etc? (Which aren't CGT's, they're simply deeming gains as revenue items. And the notion of exemptions from this is nonsensical in this context).

The public have already voted on Labour's silly new tax...just look at the poll results...oh sorry...they don't look good for Labour and so King said "bugger the polls"...let's see if she has the same statement on election night when Labour sink beneath their own tide of poor performance over the last 12 years!

That may be the case for now, but National will introduce a CGT in 2015.

I suspect you are right....or it will be Labour....

regards

The public have already voted on Labour's silly new tax...

No, the public will vote in November. No doubt Labour's proposed CGT will influence the choice of some.

[J]ust look at the poll results...

You mean the poll results fed to us by News Corp? Pffft.

[T]hey don't look good for Labour and so King said "bugger the polls"...

Politicians generally ignore voters when the wishes of voters aren't in agreement with those of the politicians.

John Key disregarded the 88% of referendum respondents who said "No" to the anti-smacking bill.

Jenny Shipley disregarded the 90-something % of referendum respondents who said "No" to the Fire Service restructuring.

There are doubtless many other examples of this kind of hubris.

"the public will vote in November", indeed, its probably early days yet and given National's stance / reply it looks more of a vote winner than a vote loser for labour from my point of view.  Certianly there is some public disquiet over some ppl effectively not paying tax and Labours % doesnt seem to have suffered.....so just how long will a CGT stay off the books?  4 months or 3 years 4 months it seems.

Roy Morgan;s latest poll is around 33% not much better, but constant.

regards

Jumping the gun there wolly.....4 months yet.....and Labour in the Roy Morgan poll is 33%, pretty constant....In any event more than a few ppl dont seem impressed some are paying no tax....so I think the odds are high that a CGT will come...Especially by 2014/15 when we are still in debt.....

regards

Actually you are right Wolly, what I don't get is how so many commentators are not grasping the fact that on the surface, many say suppose a CGT is ok, but are really quite anti Labour when it comes to expressssing their political preferance

If ppl listen to the background...the govt isn't everyones 'cup of tea' but at least the tea is hot and drinkable which was not the case when Queen Helen and these same Labour mp failures were buggering the economy.

The Goofy CGT is a failure because ppl do not trust them...even Labour lovers don't trust them!

The crux of the leftover argument hangs on a few people making off with heaps tax free...but it's all bloody hearsay and ignores the fact that the IRD has the authority and instructions to hunt down the property dealers going back as far as Piggy if need be,,,there is no time limitiation!

Handing back to the same Labour fools, the power to make the state an even larger monster in our lives, sucking even more from our incomes to fund their benefit pork slicing vote buying games, would be a very very dumb thing to do. They had 9 years and made a bloody mess. They should all follow Clark and Cullen and bugger off.

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