Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is in the Wellington region to bolster Labour’s campaign in Hutt South and to speak at Victoria University.
Hutt South is a marginal seat held by National MP Chris Bishop, but Labour MP and candidate Ginny Anderson is hoping to turn the seat red.
Bishop beat Anderson in 2017 with a 1530-vote margin.
Ardern was in Petone this morning to visit the Visit 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.
“Your one is very popular,” owner Chris Baxter told Ardern.
Ardern complimented the likeness of her cut-out, and joked that Robertson’s had an uncanny likeness to David Lange.
Ardern then visited Queensgate Shopping Centre, where she was welcomed by the cheers of hundreds of supporters.
Tania Singh watched the masses around Ardern move slowly through the mall.
“It’s understandable,’ Singh said.
“I have siblings all over the world and New Zealand is where they all want to be.”
She joked that she might grab a coffee while all the shops had emptied out to get a selfie with Ardern.
“I amazed her jaw doesn’t hurt,” she said of the need for constant smiling.
Lynette Frost waited patiently for a selfie, and was aided by Ardern’s security people.
“I love Jacinda but my vote went a different way. I’m an old farm girl. I support the farmers.”
Ardern is speaking at Victoria University this afternoon and talking to media afterwards.
Yesterday in Hamilton Ardern played up the work she’d done during her first term to build consensus and was mobbed by supporters during a visit to a mall.
“There are a few things that I learned from that period in my life. The first of which is that at any given time I got very used to not necessarily having the same ideas and opinions as everyone else around me,” she said.
“What it taught me was the importance of empathy – of seeing the world of someone else’s perspective and not considering someone else’s view as less legitimate or less important than mine, but actually working really hard to build consensus.”
She also spoke with five farmers with Federated Farmers about Labour’s freshwater reforms.
The intent of the regulations is to clean up the country’s waterways. They were drafted in September 2019 for consultation with the sector.
More than 17,500 submissions were made and changes made to the regulations before they were formally gazetted on August 5, 2020.
Ardern said the framework had been set up to make New Zealand’s waterways swimmable again and they would work through implementation issues with the sector.
“The goal has to remain the same.”
Ardern has had to continually respond to National’s claim that a Labour-Green government would implement the Green’s wealth tax, which Ardern has repeatedly ruled out.
Labour’s tax policy is to introduce a new top personal tax rate, currently 33c on income over $70,000, of 39c on income over $180,000.
The Greens want to introduce a 1 per cent tax on net wealth over $1 million and of $2 per cent on net wealth over $2 million.
A couple with a $1 million mortgage-free property and $500,000 in savings would not pay the wealth tax because the wealth would be divided into $750,000 each, falling short of the threshold.
National was forced to correct an ad saying such a couple would be paying $140 a week – when it would be nothing.
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