COMMENT:

So under normal circumstances when a Jami-Lee Ross type scenario comes up it's relatively clear. You take medical leave because of medical issues.

Or you say something like he did about putting his family and kids first, which is code mainly for an indiscretion, or as the British so eloquently put it, you've been playing away.

Now the trouble with this case is we got both. He's taking medical leave, because he apparently needs to put his family first.

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But we also got Simon Bridges who made matters a hundred times worse by saying this: "You think you know your colleagues very well, but you don't always know everything that's going on."

What do we take out of that? We take out of that, he's done something wrong.

And then Bridges said this: "It's perhaps, actually, a bit embarrassing, you know, a lot embarrassing potentially... sensitive, perhaps embarrassing issues."

Being ill, isn't embarrassing. So, of course, everyone added two and two and came up with 17, and has Ross down as the National Party leaker.

But then Bridges said this: "The leak investigation is separate, entirely, from this."

Which under normal circumstances you might have thought would have been that, but it's not.

You've got a major investigation going on over a leak. A leak investigated by National because Parliament's Speaker pulled the plug on a broad-based investigation stating he thought it had come from within National.

This investigation has been going on over a month now. Simon Bridges swore black and blue that it wasn't one of his people.

But yesterday he looked spooked, rattled, and ill-prepared. Hence his bumbling performance.

Out of nowhere you've got an electorate MP on full pay vanishing for months. If it was medical - truly medical - they could have made it much clearer than they have.

So none of the speculation is surprising, and the pressure is now on National to make this look a lot tidier than it appears.

Unless, of course, it can't be tidied. Unless, of course, we have our leaker.

Which would bring up a myriad of new questions for Bridges.

What do you do about an electorate MP? And do you want a by-election? And if he's a leaker, why's he on full pay for months? Why did he leak? And why didn't Bridges know about it, or suggest it couldn't be one of his people.

Even when asked directly whether he'd asked Ross whether he was the leaker, check out his answer:

"Look I think, implicitly, I have asked nearly every member of caucus now. Jami-Lee Ross is very clear, he's not."

Not at all convincing.

This, of course, might be nothing, it might not be remotely connected.

But if it isn't, how come Bridges made such an abysmal job of it yesterday?