Labour's undefined tax policies left them vulnerable to National attack ads which warned of seven new taxes or tax hikes. Based on the most recent polls National's strategy appeared to be working.

Now that Labour has backed down on implementing any previously unannounced taxes in its first term, what's left of those seven "scary" taxes?

Capital Gains Tax
Land tax
Inheritance Tax
Water tax
Income tax
Regional fuel tax
Emission trading scheme

Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson today kicked the first two into touch further than an Otago full back with the southerly behind him.


Capital gains tax and land taxes - are politically difficult to sell but Jacinda Ardern had made a "captain's call" to leave them on the table for its tax working group.

By guaranteeing that none of those working group recommendations will be implemented until 2021, they are effectively gone for his election cycle.

Inheritance Tax - This one was ruled out completely by Jacinda Ardern a few days ago. It won't be considered as part of the working group.

The water tax - Scaring farmers up and down the country - stays. But given farmers aren't big Labour voters and polls have shown broad urban support that shouldn't dent Labour's potential vote.

Income tax - It was always debatable as to whether that should have been on National's list. Labour has been up front about reversing National's tax cuts which take effect next April.

But because they've already be passed as legislation National says this represents a tax hike. Whether this is legit or semantics is likely to depend on your political leaning.

Regional fuel tax - This stays although its only ever applied to Auckland. Mayor Phil Goff campaigned on this issue but National wouldn't legislate to let him do it. The money would be used to fund Auckland transport solutions.

Emission trading scheme (ETS) - We're paying for climate change whether we like it not and both Labour and National have signed up to a global agreement on this. But National has exempted agriculture as an industry of national importance. Labour says it will bring farmers into the ETS by the end of their first term.

So it could represent a new tax on farmers - Something that will add to rural concern about Labour but is unlikely to trouble undecided urban voters.

So Labour has levelled the playing field on tax.

They've still got to deal with fall-out from the "back-down" and there will be questions about the timing and whether they've left it too late to regain the momentum they had.

But when it came to switching tack on unpopular policy John Key was the master - perhaps they've learned something from their old rival.

- This article has been corrected to reflect that fact that a possible inheritance tax has been ruled out completely by Labour.