Whaleoil Transcript: Hosking & Ardern on the jihadi, Iwi exemption from CGT, free dental care & prisoner voting rights

You can listen to the radio audio here.

Mike:

The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, joins us, good morning.

Jacinda:

Good morning.

Mike:

What are you going to do about Mark Taylor?

Jacinda:

Well, um currently as it stands, ah… Mike, ah… nothing. Ah, we gave very clear advice, no one should travel to Syria. Ah? I don?t think you can make it any clearer NZ?s views around associating with a designated terrorist organisation. Ah? we have, ah? no presence in Syria, no connection with the forces detaining him, ah? and I?m not going to put New Zealanders in harm?s way, um… to change either of those scenarios.

Mike:

What are you going to do when he fronts up here?

Jacinda:

Ah? well this is when? ah? obviously the fact that we don?t have the ability to make someone stateless comes into play. Now I know you?ve had something to say on this matter but what I would put to you is the reverse. If someone came to NZ who was not a NZ citizen and engaged in a terrorist act, we would take a very dim view of any country who then removed his citizenship and made the… that person our problem. We do have an obligation not to strip, ah? someone?s single citizenship from them because that would make them stateless. Ah? he is our problem. We have to accept that um? so if ah? that he? ah? returns to NZ, ah… obviously then we have, ah… the means to make sure that we keep NZ safe. There are obviously a number equally of different pieces of legislation that might kick in as well. Um… that?s not something I can say too much about because I don?t want to jeopardise any potential future case.

Mike:

Having said that, ah? we can make him stateless because the only thing preventing us from doing so is, ah… we?ve signed a bit of paper with the United Nations, and people are making them stateless. Pompeo did it the other day and is being taken to court and, ah… looks like he might win, and ah? Britain did it as well.

Jacinda:

Ah, no that?s actually? the cases you are referring to in the UK for instance, is where dual citizenship comes into play. Mark Taylor only has citizenship in NZ.

Mike:

It answers? it answers your problem?

Jacinda:

There are debates around dual citizenship?

Mike:

I understand that but it would make? you would say we would take a dim view, but, ah… Britain? presumably Holland is taking a dim view of Britain fobbing them off onto Holland, aren?t they? But at least they are taking a stance.

Jacinda:

Ah? this is not the same, Mike, because he is only a NZ citizen. And so, it?s not as if we are having a debate with another country who might have responsibility here. We might not like this problem, but he is still our problem. My number one focus, though, is keeping NZ safe, ah? and we have the means to do so. Ah… if there is a scenario? ah? where he is able to return, currently that?s not exactly practical given he is detained in Syria.

Mike:

Give us a clue as to what these means are, based on the fact that we have a reasonably lenient judicial process, you?d need to look at what you charge him with, how long he?d get, we don?t have life imprisonment in this country in the true sense of it, what?s preventing him going to prison and them coming out and wreaking havoc?

Jacinda:

Again, you?ll for… you’ll understand why, Mike, I wouldn?t want to jepradise (sic) any potential case here. So let me speak in general terms around some of the, ah? pieces of law that exist in this space. Obviously, there?s terrorism suppression laws, ah? so a person convicted of participating in a terrorist entity can be liable to a term of imprisonment of up to 14 years. If they?re committed of committing… convicted of committing a terrorist act, they are liable to a term of life imprisonment. There?s also the Crimes Act have provision which curra… covers scenarios where people are inciting violence and so on. Um? there?s also, ah? ah? objectionable materials under the films, videos classifications. There?s a number of pieces of law that can?

Mike:

But none of them? none of them have a person in prison for the rest of their life.

Jacinda:

Life imprisonment does, ah… mean the ability exists for someone to stay in for the rest of their life. ?What you are talking about is the ability of someone to go before a parole board.

Mike:

Yeah, exactly. Would he get legal aid?

Jacinda:

Ah? again, I… I don?t want to get into too many of the hypotheticals on any of these.

Mike:

Well, what?s hypothetical about that? This is a guy who is a NZ citizen who will end up back on our shore in one way, shape or form, and end up in the judicial process?

Jacinda:

I?m not going to say anything that jepradises, and you wouldn?t want me to, I would have thought Mike, to jepradise any case down the track, ah? and so I?m going to be a bit careful about what I say that is particular to Mark Taylor.

Mike:

Okay. Are Maori going to be exempt in some way, shape or form from the CGT?

Jacinda:

Oh, yeah? look, I?ve seen this debate um? ah? the tax working group simply made the point that there are some complexities around ownership, um? and so on, and just suggested that if the government were to down? go down this track, to give some further thought to that area. They didn?t make a specific recommendation, ah? we of course have not made any decisions yet so this is really just a debate that?s raging with not anything actually having been done at this point.

Mike:

Are you looking at it?

Jacinda:

Ah? at the moment we are just looking at the, ah, the idea of whether or not, or in what form a CGT might take. That?s what we are considering.

Mike:

Is it possible Maori will be exempt?

Jacinda:

Ah? that? I?m not going to go into, ah… any of those potentials, ah… around the CGT, you know Mike that we are considering the entire report. When we? when we finalise our decision, we will give you a clear view in April.

Mike:

Would that be racist if you segregated out tax two different races, though?

Jacinda:

Ah? again? it?s? it?s helpful I think to think about the particular situations we are talking about here. For instance, ah? it?s? relates to land ownership structure as well, so? ah? look, you know, we have a particular situation, for instance with? ah? the structure of Maori owned land that because there?s often, ah, multiples involved? for instance it?s hard to get bank loans and so we?ve? we?ve tried to do something to deal with that. I think it?s not straightforward to just say you?d be treating Maori land different to other land, it?s because there?s also peculiarities attached to the land status and its ownership structure. So, that?s why that debate.

Mike:

Do they pay GST on it?

Jacinda:

Ah… again, there?s some recommendation around, um? continuity between the way, um?, ah?, ah… Maori land ownership is currently treated, ah… and its subsidiaries. I would have to go back to the report to remind myself of some of those recommendations um? and I couldn?t give you specifics on, um… different ownership structures and the way it’s treated in tax, um… currently.

Mike:

I know you don?t like reading the Herald when people write things about the CGT that you don?t want to hear, but one of the articles I did read on?

Jacinda:

No! That wasn?t the point I was making, Mike, the point I was making was just a balanced debate, I think in this? in this case would be a helpful one.

Mike:

Well, part of the problem, could I suggest to you, that the? part of the reason the balance is imbalanced is because all you ever come back with is ?we haven?t made up our mind yet? and we are throwing left, right and centre facts at you and all you say is ?I haven?t made up my mind?.

Jacinda:

No, no, actually my point in… in many cases has been that, ah… and this is again? no one needs to take this personally, Mike, I?ve never named names, some people who have contributed to this debate haven?t contributed facts. That?s where it makes it slightly more fustrating (sic).

Mike:

But all I?m trying to find out is this would be significant move on behalf of the government if you? if you slice off a race and it becomes a race-based tax.

Jacinda:

And we haven?t proposed that and nor has the tax working group.

Mike:

They are suggesting that you are off to court if you don?t.

Jacinda:

No, no the tax working group have suggested that we give it some consideration, if we were moving into a particular space with CGT. There are double ?ifs? there. No decision has been made, no recommendation has specifically even been made so you?ll forgive me if I consider it to be scare mongering.

Mike:

Do you favour free dental care of any nature?

Jacinda:

Ah? whether I favour it and whether we are in a position to provide it unfortunately are two different things. Ah? we do? we do provide obviously last year DHBs spent, I think, two hundred million dollars ah? on providing dental care, ah? and? ah? that?s targeted at the moment, particularly young people, um? those are in emergency needs, ah? providing, as you know, dental care across the board is very expensive. Would I like to see that? There?s many things I?d like to see in our health system. Unfortunately we have to prioritise.

Mike:

Can we just tick off some of the Greens’ ideas that they seem to have packed up into one big bundle? ah? to help out democracy? Do you favour the prisoners having voting rights?

Jacinda:

(Sighs). In this particular situation parliament is going to have to look at this issue because the courts are asking us to, Mike, so ah? a member?s bill a few years ago, ah? keeping in mind that at that point voting rights for prisoners then only applied to people who were serving a sentence of three years or less, it wasn?t everyone. That was removed by a member?s bill, um? we at the time said that we didn?t think that was a good idea because a lot of work had gone into deciding? independent work had gone into deciding the system we had, um? and? ah? ultimately now we?ve got a situation where, ah? the courts have said, ah? parliament needs to reconsider?, ah? what it did, because it was inconsistent. Ah? and so parliament is going to have to then, at some point, respond to what the courts have said. It?s not on our current agenda, um? but ultimately, as I say, it?s something we are going to have to deal with.

Mike:

Appreciate your time. Jacinda Ardern, prime minister.

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