Simon Bridges’ own brother in law wants to jump ship because Bridges can?t win

National leader Simon Bridges and National MP Simon O’Connor

When your own brother in law bails on you obviously things are pretty grim. According to a newspaper National MP Simon O’Connor is considering a tilt at the Auckland mayoralty. Many will not be aware of this but O’Connor is Simon Bridges’ brother in law. The fact that O’Connor is considering jumping ship suggests that he does not think that National will get back in under Bridges. It is very hard indeed not to see this decision as being a very strong vote of no confidence in the National party leadership and the National party’s chances this coming election.

Then there is this very good assessment of the stupidity of Bridges from Noted where they describe the past nine months as ” disaster management” Quote.

National?s leader has gone from hard-nosed aggression to ?I don?t want to talk about it? in less than a year.

[…] In early August, he was defending the personal disaster of a low rating as preferred prime minister of 10 per cent by saying Helen Clark had ?polled lower? during her career.

His big chance of turning the tables on the coalition government should have come during the six weeks of Ardern?s maternity leave, which ended in early August, but the alliance didn?t fall apart under Winston Peters? management as had been predicted. And any chance of Bridges gaining the upper hand disappeared as Peters repeatedly bested him in the House. end quote.

As we have pointed out previously on the blog, Bridges has not been successful at getting in good political hits on Ardern in parliament let alone on Winston Peters, and he wastes too many of National’s allocated questions. Many of the questions that he has kept for himself?would be better employed if they were given to more effective hard hitters like Judith Collins. quote.

For a brief period in late September, Bridges thought he had the government on the run. He told Newstalk ZB that ?heaven is shining its favour on me and the National Party? ? only to find the clouds roll in and the Jami-Lee Ross storm wash away questions about?Wally Haumaha,?Meka Whaitiri?and?Derek Handley?as spectacular warfare broke out between him and his former lieutenant. end quote.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the actions of Jami-Lee Ross, the way this issue was handled was politically a complete disaster. The Labour party are very good at getting rid of troublemakers or people who for whatever reason they want removed?from the party. They often use clean surgical methods which require a face-saving exit and a new job somewhere far away from parliament. We know for a fact that Bridges was given a number of opportunities to get rid of Jami-Lee Ross without it blowing up in his face, but with his Deputy Paula Bennett’s assistance he chose public humiliation of Ross instead of negotiating a mutually acceptable exit, and pushed Mr Ross over the edge. quote.

From October to November, Bridges has been assailed by a storm of media questions that covered allegations of electoral fraud,?cash for candidates, covering up bullying behaviour and infidelity among his married MPs. It is a monumental disaster?partly of his own making after he decided he would relentlessly pursue an inquiry into the leak of his travel expenses?incurred on his?greet-and-meet tour?of the nation between April and June.

Initially, he responded vigorously and vehemently to Ross?s attacks, and ultimately asserted that, although he had been sorely tested by them, he had come out stronger.

But after the latest leaked recording of a conversation between him, Paula Bennett and Ross over their?attempts to remove the Botany MP from his shadow front bench and Parliament, the fight seems to have gone out of him.

Bridges has now resorted to telling the media that he is ?moving on? and doesn?t want to talk about Jami-Lee Ross anymore.

This is certainly not a recommended disaster management tactic and not one the media will find convincing, especially given the serious questions Ross has raised. end quote.

Radio silence is a very effective tactic with the media but it only works when you want to prevent a story from getting into the media. It is too late once it is already out. If Bridges had allowed Jami-Lee Ross to have a face-saving exit he would have quietly disappeared on sick leave and by the time people realised he was not coming back the story would have been dead. Instead, Paula ‘back door’ Bennett broke the unwritten rule of politics and crossed a line. She lifted the bed sheets. Now every single politician including her can be asked by the media to submit to the “Bennett test.” Meanwhile, Jami-Lee Ross is still in the picture and can snipe at Bridges for lord knows how long, protected by parliamentary privilege. Quote.

The?Southland Times, which has taken a particular interest in the saga, has found it unacceptable.?It put a number of questions to Bridges about the married MP who had attacked Ross on?Newsroom?after she had a relationship with him, and who sent him an abusive text that could be seen as breaching the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

Among the questions, the?Times?wanted to know if the National Party ?still believes the MP, who reportedly sent the text, is still fit to be an MP and represent the National Party, given they reportedly sent a text saying someone deserved to die? Has the MP offered to stand down? Or, are they still carrying out their duties as normal??

The response from Bridges? chief of staff that: ?The National Party has no comment on these matters. Jami-Lee Ross is no longer a National MP and the party is moving on? met with the editorial response: ?Moving on? we don’t think so.?

It ended by describing National with one word ? ?hypocrites?.

And this from a conservative daily paper covering a conservative region that has long been a National stronghold. end quote.

They are hypocrites and their protection of this married MP is incredibly sexist and unjust. Her ‘anonymous’ accusations including the claim of “brutal sex” need to be taken in the context of a woman scorned. She wanted him to leave his wife for her and Ross had broken off the affair. Quote.?

Now that NZ First has accepted Ross?s proxy vote, the chances of National ejecting him from Parliament under the waka-jumping law look slimmer than ever. The fact he has a speaking slot in Parliament on December 13 as an independent MP must be keeping Bridges and Bennett awake long into the night ? as will his reappearance in public to represent his electorate at the opening of the new Tiaho Mai building at Middlemore Hospital, the mental health facility where he was treated last month. He is making it clear he is not going away.?Ross has said he may not return to Parliament until next year but that will be cold comfort to his former masters. They can have no idea what recordings or other damaging information he might release to the media at any time.

As a result, the media senses that Bridges is grievously wounded and journalists are not holding back. End quote.

The sharks are circling as they smell blood in the water.

Photoshopped image credit: Luke