COMMENT:

Simon Bridges has ensured that the Government will do nothing about the petrol taxes brought in this year - the annual excise rise of just over three per cent, which kicked in at the beginning of this month, and the Auckland regional fuel tax which motorists throughout the nation are now paying for.

By starting an online petition to have the Government scrap the taxes, National's simply entrenched them.

Bridges is playing a similar political blame game to the one Jacinda Ardern's been playing over the past week. Ardern's done her best to paint the oil companies as the bogeys, ignoring the fact that more than half the money we pay at the pump is made up of Government taxes.

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Bridges is shifting the blame back to the Government - which is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black, given that petrol tax was increased when he was Transport Minister and it went up six of the nine years National was in Government. And he knows a petition's going to have about as much of an impact on petrol prices as the Government's plans to give the Commerce Commission more power to see how the oil companies set their prices.

And the sincerity of the petition's suspect, given a couple of other recent petitions, which went nowhere, but were used as harvesters for their database to grow their mailing list which saw the party having to apologise to those who innocently signed on to support the cause.

The axe and tax petition also requires email addresses which can, and have been, used by the party to bombard in-boxes with National propaganda. At least with this one they're being more up front in the small print, telling those who sign up to it their details may be used to keep them up to date with other party policies and local campaigns.

With their strong support base, the petition could attract a good number of signatures, but then most of them are likely to be party supporters and unlikely to convince the Beehive to back down.

In fairness National's not on its own in using petitions which can be used to grow political mailing lists - both Labour and The Greens have done the same thing.

Petitions aside, the Government can hardly be surprised if business confidence remains gasping for breath in the exhaust fumes, as it gives itself the new nosey parker powers.

The Greens are already insisting the next industry on the shopping list should be supermarkets and given Cabinet's axeman Shane Jones' blood lust for belligerent boardrooms, it seems no one will be safe from the prying eyes of politicians.