Wednesday, November 15, 2023

This may fool Labour's backbench, but it won't fool voters

When Chris Hipkins put a wealth tax back on the table after losing the election, I called him weak, irresolute, and deceitful, and pointed out that no-one on either side could believe him on this issue. Today, in the Herald Thomas Coughlan has the inside dirt: that it was a short con to shore up Hipkins' leadership:

A compromise was reached within the Labour Party to quell dissent about the leadership of Chris Hipkins and allay concerns the party had abandoned its base.


Inside last week’s meeting, the dissenters wanted action on tax, saying it would be difficult to survive the next three years in opposition and fight another election campaign if Hipkins’ rule-out meant wealth and capital gains taxes were in deep freeze.

They wanted them defrosted.

Hipkins, without putting up much of a fight, agreed to put both back on the table - an olive branch to the dissenters. This doesn’t guarantee either would be included in the party’s 2026 manifesto.

This has successfully fooled the Labour backbench - for now. But they're not who Hipkins actually needs to convince. It is voters who will determine his and his party's future, and we can see full well who actually supports fair taxation, and who is merely trying to scam us. Thanks to its past cowardice, Labour has a huge credibility problem on what is likely to be a key issue at the next election. And the longer they treat it as a PR scam, to be fudged and put off (while their pecuniary interest declarations tell us they have a direct financial interest in opposing it), the worse it is going to be for them.