Is Simon Bridges facing a ‘come to Jesus’ moment?

National leader Simon Bridges

It’s make or break time for Bridges as he prepares for the SFO enquiry and possible challenges to his leadership following abysmal polling leading up to the election. Quote.

The worst poll for Bridges wasn’t from last month, but the previous one, before Christmas, which showed he had nothing to worry about. Instead of spending the holiday period shoring up support and recalibrating for the year ahead, he and National coasted. KiwiBuild is doing our job for us, one National MP told me over Christmas; all we have to do is keep the focus off us.” End of quote.

If that national MP’s comment reflects Bridges own attitude I think he is in a world of trouble and Shane Te Pou,writing for Stuff agrees. Quote.

Perhaps they think the troubled rollout of the Tax Working Group recommendations will save Bridges. I doubt it. Bad poll numbers are hard to reverse, and even harder to ignore. End of quote.

Bridges is like a bunny in the headlights when he could, and should, be the hunter with the loaded gun looking for his own, real live targets to take down and pin to the scoreboard. Quote.

I’m not a Nat, but I will get no satisfaction from Bridges’ likely demise. In many ways, he’s an impressive guy – self-made, hard-working and smart. He’s the kind of role model I want for my son.  

But, in another way, I don’t feel like we really know him much at all.  He’s admirably self-contained, but this is an era that rewards authenticity. Love her or otherwise, Jacinda leaves nothing on the paddock.  She creates connections effortlessly.

By contrast, Bridges talks just like the careful, intelligent lawyer he is.  Despite the breathless commentary that surrounded them, the leaked phone calls with Jami-Lee Ross were most striking to me for their extreme politeness. In hundreds of phone calls with party leaders over the years, I never took part in a conversation quite that measured and serious, not to mention light on expletives.

Observing Bridges at Waitangi, he strikes me as almost shy – or at least not entirely comfortable in his own skin. In that sense, he reminds me somewhat of Andrew Little, another whose limitations were shown up in the leader’s chair. Also like Little, he has the tendency, common in politicians, to speak at people like they’re a public meeting or a radio microphone.” End of quote.

Stuff


Politeness aside, this is no time for Bridges to retain his poker face. This is his opportunity to step up and show us what he’s made of – which means taking risks. I suspect Bridges’ legal background has inoculated him against revealing what really makes him tick, and we will continue to see the familiar cardboard cutout without much substance. The ability of Bridges to willingly enter a skirmish and fight for his leadership may be really and truly subdued beyond retrieval.


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