I actually think Heather did the right thing, in returning early to Parliament. Staying away for a full fortnight would have just meant the publicity around her return would have been delayed.
And on Campbell Live, she basically said the right things about putting the past behind, wanting to work with Rodney, and move on together as part of a team.
ACT should accept these intentions in good faith, in my opinion.
If Heather wishes to remain an ACT MP, which she clearly does, then she has the right to do so. Any attempt to push her out (and I am not suggesting such a thing is planned) would just keep the bad publicity going.
Having said that, Heather may find the next 14 months pretty hard. Going from a Minister with 10 staff to a backbencher with one secretary is a hard adjustment, combined with the fact that previously you actually determined policy, signed off spending etc, and then as a backbencher your main parliamentary job is select committees.
Most MPs tolerate being a backbencher, because of the potential to be a Minister one day. I can’t see any way Heather is going to end up being a Minister again. In fact I can’t see anyway that Heather will be an MP after the next election, because the remaining party members (and ultimately the Board) are highly unlikely to give her a winnable list place.
So while I think it is a good thing Heather has returned from leave, and is wanting to get on with the job – she may find it is a pretty unappealing time.