COMMENT

Is Simon Bridges on the come back path?

Has Jacinda given him a lifeline in the form of the Capital Gains Tax?

Perhaps the biggest mistake this Government has made so far is the multi-week gap it's left for the rest of us to fill with ideas, commentary, opinion and fact on an idea that it has clearly underestimated the potential impact.

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For a start the fact they sat in Opposition for 9 years and still needed a working group to come up with ideas tells you all you need to know about their work ethic in terms of preparation for government.

The fact they then after months of waiting still didn't have anything to say upon receiving the report equally tells you all you need to know about their forward planning.

And the fact they are surprised at the reaction shows a stunning amount of political naivety.

The examples Bridges is running are real, and the Government saying they haven't yet made up their minds not only isn't true, but also shows lack of leadership.

Why they haven't been honest I don't know. Why they can't defend their corner leaves me am equally bemused. And the fact they've kept Michael Cullen on at a grand a day is an outrage.

If you can't argue your case, you don't have a case.

Cullen was hired to find a CGT and common ground - he wasn't hired as a political operative.

And if there are gaps in the debate to fill, allegedly the job he is charged with, then it isn't his role to fill those gaps given it isn't his policy.

His job ended with the report delivery.

Perhaps the best example Bridges raises is the lifestyle block, of which there are over 400 thousand.

Now to be fair that includes businesses, and in that number is the fatal flaw made by those who argue for a CGT, asking why should business be exempt when salary and wages are included.

So lifestyle blocks first.

Why, asks Bridges, does a 2 hectare holding in Southland worth a couple of hundred thousand attract a tax, when the $8 million mansion in Remuera doesn't?

Fair question I would have thought.

Then we get to the line between a lifestyle block and a farm. What if farms are exempt because Winston Peters, who already hates the tax, decides his support comes only if you slice out farms.

If you plant your lifestyle block with trees or get some sheep on board, is that a farm? And who decides?

And in that is the greatest flaw of all in the original CGT idea.

This country has, as recognised by virtually everyone including the very Government that wants to up-end it, a clean, clear, simple and effective tax system.

It is internationally recognised as such.

So why complicate it? Why add a Pandora's box full of exemptions, questions, and marginal calls in order to "make it fair"

And then to businesses. What, ask the critics, is the difference between salary and wages and paying tax on them, as opposed to the business owner who currently gets to walk with the profit, upon sale?

In a way if you have to ask that question you don't understand business.

Owning a business is not about salary and wages, it's about risk and lost sleep and debt and a lifetime worth of energy and effort to not only build something lasting and successful, but also adding to the productive economy.

To equate that to clocking in at 9 and clocking out at 5, with all the leisure, support and safety that someone else's business offers you, is to fail to understand what's required to take the leap in the first place.

The small business person, whether a farmer, retailer or manufacturer, is the hero and life blood of this country. The employee is someone who comes and goes as they choose.

And maybe that's the greatest weakness the Labour cabinet has.

One of them, possibly two, has ever actually owned a business.

The rest are running on theory, and their handling thus far reeks of the lack of understanding, which is why Simon has got traction.

And if he's smart, he's got a bit over a year to hammer it home and get himself back in the game.