Duncan Garner: The rich pricks are in Cullen's sights

Opinion 22/02/2019

By Duncan Garner, host of The AM Show.

We've now seen this capital gains tax proposal and I actually think it's time we had a decent debate about this, away from the hyperbole, Simon "this is an assault on our way of life" Bridges.

We can be so critical of our politicians as being useless, not having any ideas, refusing to be hands-on in the economy, so points to Labour for being bold - or stupid - enough to raise an issue that screams, 'Warning! Warning!'

Open this debate if you want just one term in office. That's the reality, Jacinda Ardern risks burning all her political capital and goodwill with voters on this. Did she not learn during the last election it's a huge risk?

That she seems willing to take on the grounds of fairness - so principled.

Helen Clark and Michael Cullen never muttered the words "capital gains" for fear of public execution, but now Cullen has broken free from the shackles. The rich pricks are in his sights. But, this is actually a "tax switch" - low and middle income earners will get a decent tax cut if this goes ahead. But, Labour has failed to sell this as a "tax switch", they've allowed their opponents to define it like they did so badly with the anti-smacking campaign years back.  

Labour will attempt to pass this into law before the next election, but it wouldn't come into effect until after. 

My pick is that they will go with a watered down version of the Cullen approach, because if it was introduced unchanged, it would be one the most aggressive taxes to hit the 'rich pricks' - who happen to be ordinary, everyday Kiwis, actually. 

My other pick? It will make no difference to house prices.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.