Bridges celebrates as Govt backs down on CGT

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 17 April 2019, 4:40p.m.
Bridges is claiming victory over Labour. (Photo / NZ Herald)

National Party leader Simon Bridges is taking credit for the demise of the Capital Gains Tax.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced this afternoon that the Government would not be implementing the tax, after months of debate following the release of the Tax Working Group report. 

Bridges told Larry Williams that National's "relentless opposition" had a part in the decision and it was a "big win" for National, and an embarrassment for the Government.

"There's no doubt that we were the strongest voice in the debate."

He denies that Winston Peters and New Zealand First would have objected to it on their own, as they only act when under pressure from other political parties. 

Peters says that Bridges has been "wrong" throughout the debate, and this should be the final nail in his political career. However, Bridges says that Peters is in the wrong. 

"It's National that's opposed this throughout. They have had to backdown."

He says that this is a "big win for Kiwis", but it has come at a massive cost. 

"It's 18 months of time where the debate has weakened the economy. It has sapped the confidence out of the small business owners, our investors, our mums and dads, and we now have a weakened economy."

Bridges challenges Ardern and Peters to show their economic plan now that their flagship policy has been thrown out. 

He says that he was expecting some sort of CGT was going to be announced, but Bridges thinks that Ardern has done something worse

"If they had done the CGT, Jacinda Ardern could have said 'I did do something'. What they've got where she doesn't have the courage of her convictions, she hasn't been able to lead her government because of our strong opposition, she's got nothing. 

Despite their argument against the CGT, Bridges' popularity has remained low. 

He said his leadership was secure and that National still had the support of 40 per cent of New Zealanders, according to the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll.

"I feel really comfortable and confident in my leadership. Today is a real win for National under my leadership, and I'm focused on that."

Bridges denies that the rejection of the tax proposals has taken the wings out of sails. 

Asked about whether the "numbers were firming up for Judith Collins", Bridges said he was sure that was not the case.

He said he expected to be the National leader through to the election.

He would not say whether he had asked caucus members for feedback on his leadership.

He said he was not nervous "at all" about murmurings about his leadership.

"I'll be leading this great party right through to the election, and we're planning on winning."

Even though the CGT had been thrown out, Bridges said there were signs the economy was weakening and the Government needed a plan to grow the economy.

"New Zealanders can't trust Labour on tax."

He said National MPs would be "feeling really good" about his leadership after today's backdown on a CGT.