Ryan Bridge: Jacinda has poked an angry tiger

Opinion 22/02/2019
Jacinda Ardern and Ryan Bridge. Photo: Newshub.

By Ryan Bridge, host of Magic Talk Drive.

OPINION: Warning Jacinda, you've poked an angry tiger.

She's using Michael Cullen to fly a kite on capital gains, but when it all comes crashing down to earth the only person at risk of being hit is Jacinda Ardern.

Yesterday's Tax Working Group announcement should not have been a shock to the public, long-anticipated and previewed by the country's media.

But you'd be forgiven for thinking a bomb went off given the amount and heat of the reaction to a comprehensive CGT.

I've not seen anything quite like it in my time hosting drive-time radio.

Jacinda Ardern has well and truly poked the tiger.

CGTs are a bloody hard sell, no matter how comprehensive. Just ask Phil Goff.

I followed him round the country trying to flog the dead horse on the 2011 election campaign and people were barely turning up to town halls to see the guy.

The CGT includes business gains on the sale of businesses. This is the most controversial aspect of the plan.

Cullen told me yesterday it is his least favourite option because the compliance costs on businesses are estimated to be worth anywhere up to $1 billion.

Cullen says the group has no idea what compliance costs might be and that should worry Labour as much as it does small businesses.

The big question of course, as always, is what will Winston do?

If he only agrees to a watered-down version including just rental properties then the left won't be happy.

It’d be like going to a strip show where the main attraction keeps her pants on the whole time.

And if they do decide to go whole hog and fly Cullen's kite with a full CGT, it could be the beginning of the end for this coalition.

It's a bloody big, angry tiger that Jacinda's poked.

She must decide what's more important for her politically, principle (we all know Labour believes a CGT is what's right), or electability.

Ryan Bridge is host of Magic Talk Drive.