COMMENT:

National leader Simon Bridges seems to have reappeared from his post Jami-Lee Ross exile to announce he would introduce no new taxes in his first term in office.

That's a wonderfully optimistic way of putting it, "our first term in office."

The election of course is two years away, and having looked at the polls he isn't getting a first term in office. Because one, he doesn't have the support and two, he doesn't have a partner that can make up the gap in support.

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But I am sure in Bridges' mind all that will change in the next 24 months, and well it might.

This Government has a lot to worry about when the wider public turn their attention to where their next vote goes, and the tax stance is something that they may have trouble with. Especially given by then they'll be entering the race with a raft of ideas from Sir Michael Cullen's working group.

So potentially you'll have a Government arguing for more and new taxes, having already topped us up with more and new taxes, against an opposition that's offering the alternative of no new taxes at all. History would show that the less tax promised the more popular you are with the punter.

Anyway, that would appear to be where old Bridges runs into a spot of policy bother. Because he's informing us the rest of it is coming from his "have your say campaign".

Now I must confess, I have not heard of the "have your say campaign," but given I now have, I feel I can have my say. And my say is: don't have a "have your say campaign".

Opening up a suggestion box on something like political policy is asking for a box full of madness. You may as well say, 'No idea is a bad idea' when we all know that's not true. The same way we know when they say all ideas are welcome, that's not true either.

Here's the thing about political support, it's born of passion, ideology, natural instinct, and aptitude. You build a movement on demand, you fill a void or a gap.

That's why we have things like the Greens, the Tea Party, UKIP, and the so-called 'hard right' of certain European countries. They harness the frustration, demand, and desire, they take what already exists and run with it.

They don't open a suggestion box.

The other problem with it, although it sounds all touchy-feely and inclusive, is it makes you look like you can't think of anything. It makes you look like you're not really sure of what you stand for.

And if something that basic isn't obvious, no one is supporting a bloke who is a bit 'go where the wind takes him'. Great leaders don't have to tell you what they believe because you already know.

Bridges already suffers from a touch of the old wishy washy. Asking people for policy makes him look like he's been in the job, has thought as hard as he can about stuff, and apart from the tax, his whiteboard is empty.

It's not exactly a recipe for confidence.