I’ve got a sick toddler to look after today so this may be the only blog post.
But a thought occurred to me last night. The conventional wisdom in the media was that having an inquiry into the leak was a huge mistake by Simon Bridges.
But think about the counterfactual. As damaging and messy as this last week has been, how much worse would it be if an embittered Jami-Lee had remained in place leaking and tape recording. How much more damage would have occurred?
I chatted to an MP about this yesterday and they said that there will not be a single member of caucus who now thinks the leak inquiry was a bad idea. As devastating as this week has been, they’re just relieved that JLR has been exposed and is out of caucus.
So with the benefit of hindsight, Bridges decision was the right one.
And also consider how a week ago the narrative was Bridges was being unfair to JLR. There was no proof he was the leaker (now very obvious he was). They even said that Bridges was unfair in making JLR take leave etc. While the real story is Bridges acted on the complaints from female MPs and staff within 24 hours of knowing about them. Now they say Bridges didn’t act fast enough when last week it was he acted too quickly.
Don’t get me wrong – this episode definitely is damaging to National, and Bridges as leader gets damaged by it also. But I doubt anyone can fairly point to how a different series of decisions would have led to better outcomes in the long term.