CGT debate shows Jacinda’s weakness

Credit: SonovaMin

The publication of the TWG’s report has laid bare the truth about this government. They appointed all those working groups (around 200 of them now, I believe) because they are not competent enough to be able to formulate policy themselves. Nor are they able to answer questions about proposed policy either, if Jacinda’s snarly performance in the House opposite Simon Bridges is anything to go by.

Of course, she wouldn’t be so snarling and sarcastic if she weren’t constantly found wanting; and she knows it. quote.

The Opposition senses the Government has serious problems, with its inept handling of Michael Cullen’s Tax Working Group (TWG) report a mere symptom.

Put simply, National has never bought Labour’s positioning of Jacinda Ardern as a policy wonk. end quote.

And they are right… Jacinda can smile and wave, talk to kindergarten children and wax lyrical about kindness, but she is not an achiever. She clearly has no idea about taxation policy, and it is becoming embarrassing. quote.

In Opposition and as Prime Minister, her approach has not been to tackle complex issues herself, but to emote while outsourcing policy work to so-called experts.

As her plethora of working groups begin reporting, Ardern and her ministers appear as ill-equipped to confront difficult questions as National always suspected.

The management of the TWG report is a case study in incompetence. From the moment its terms of reference were announced in November 2017, it was obvious the TWG would recommend some kind of Capital Gains Tax (CGT). end quote.

They were instructed to propose a CGT. Apparently, when they told Grant Robertson that it was too complicated, he sent them back and told them to try harder. quote.

The Government had access to the final report for at least three weeks before it was published.
Despite all this, Ardern and Grant Robertson failed to agree on any confidence-inducing initial position or to achieve even rhetorical alignment with their NZ First coalition partner and the Greens. end quote.

That’s right. They had time to put together some kind of cohesive plan, but that would have required actually reading the report, and clearly, that was never going to happen. quote.

Ardern’s performances in Parliament and the media have been so woeful that either she has either not been properly briefed on Cullen’s recommendations or she does not understand them.

She continues to promote the CGT as a panacea for property prices despite Cullen, Robertson and every credible commentator saying it would have marginal effects at most.
She appeared unaware the report also proposed the long list of other new taxes gleefully read out by Simon Bridges in Parliament. end quote.

I’m fairly sure the sarcasm and snarly comments, all while refusing to answer any of Bridges questions, was because she didn’t have a clue as to the answers. She must have known the questions that would be asked. Obfuscating just makes her look incompetent and weak. quote.

National believes this bungling is not a one-off. The Government’s decision late last year to establish another mental health working group to advise it on how to respond to its first mental health working group indicated that it lacks decision-making grit.

As the avalanche of working group reports arrive, the Opposition detects panic. Whether or not it was co-ordinated with Labour, the ill-fated attempt by Green MP Golriz Ghahraman to reduce the MMP threshold to 4 per cent in time for the 2020 election was seen by National to reflect grave concern the party can reach the current 5 per cent mark.

National insiders say their polling has NZ First consistently below the 5 per cent threshold, the Greens dicing with death by bouncing around it, and Labour and National locked in a tight battle, both above 40 per cent and within the margin of error of each other.

Repeats of the CGT fiasco on every other topic on which working groups will be making recommendations risk knocking off the crucial couple of per cent from Labour’s tally to put National back into power.

A newspaper. end quote.

I think Judith is right not to make a move too soon. The government’s incompetency is clearly on show and she is doing a brilliant job of exposing Phil Twyford for the dolt that he is. Later in the year, when most of the 200 or so working groups have presented their reports and the government is really floundering under the weight of it all, might be the time to strike.

Whatever happens, one thing is clear. This government came into power creating an expectation of being a ‘transformational government’. Clearly, they are not up to the task. Slogans and fairy dust will only get them so far. At some point, they are going to have to perform… and if they can’t, they will be a one term government.

Photoshopped image credit: SB