Patrick Gower: Jacinda Ardern doing a John Key with tax U-turn

OPINION: Jacinda Ardern is obviously hoping to copy John Key with her U-turn on the tax policy.

Yes, she looks weak - but it has to be remembered that Key did U-turns all the time and it never hurt him.

He did loads of U-turns, most famously on Iraq, the refugee quota and class sizes.

It is a very important point to note when analysing Ardern's move.

Key proved that Kiwis don't actually care that much about U-turns if they get what they wanted out of the leader.

So while other parties, politicos and journos got hyped about Key's U-turns, voters were not bothered.

Ardern will be hoping that some of Key's U-turn stardust is still floating around.

She is essentially asking the New Zealand public to give her a free pass.

So this could go one of two ways for Ardern: voters could see her as weak or it could take the highly damaging tax vagueness off the table.

Looking at the recent Newshub-Reid Research poll showing National on the rise, it was clear the tax issue was frightening centre voters back to the blue mothership.

The centre voters hold the key to the election: Ardern will be hoping that like John Key, she can now win them back - and that like John Key, they will forgive her U-turn. 

Patrick Gower is Newshub's political editor.

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