Labour leader says MOU with Greens still stands
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has told a press conference in Wellington this afternoon that she would not have been happy with Green co-leader Metiria Turei as a minister in any coalition government that may be formed after the general election in September.
Earlier today she also ruled out any post-election agreement for NZ First leader Winston Peters to be Prime Minister.
Ms Ardern says she would have ruled Ms Turei out as a minister if she hadn't already herself today.
At an earlier press conference, Ms Turei refused to resign over her self-admitted benefit fraud and new revelations about potential electoral fraud but has said she won't put herself forward for a ministerial position.
Labour says it remains committed to its memorandum of understanding with the Green Party that it would co-operate on policy if joined in government.
Ms Ardern would not answer questions when asked if Ms Turei is a liability to the left, saying she wants to "focus on Labour."
"We have seven weeks to campaign – we need to focus on that."
Keeping mum on tax
Ms Ardern was not answering questions on what the party’s plans for tax were or if any announcement will be made before the election.
She had been pressed about this earlier in the week, to which she responded by saying voters would have to wait 72 hours to hear about the party’s tax plans.
This afternoon (73 hours after she became leader) she was asked if she could rule out raising the top tax rate but she wouldn't be drawn, saying only she has “given an overview of the policy areas where we will be adding emphasis.”
This includes housing, education, areas in the environmental space and Maori issues.
When pressed, asked if she was able to give any indication of the party’s tax plan under her leadership, she again deflected.
“People will be left with no doubt in our direction during this campaign.”
After being asked a third time, she was at pains to point out voters would find out “all in good time.”
"We will roll out our policies as we are ready.”
However, she added the party would stick to its budget responsibility rules.