"Now the stardust has settled you're starting to see the policy," then Opposition leader Bill English famously uttered in an televised election debate in September, 2017.
English's attempt to peel back some of the mystique surrounding the popular ascent of Jacinda Ardern only added to his own undoing as leader of the National Party, after Ardern adroitly claimed the riposte: "This stardust won't settle because not one of us should settle."
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As well as seeing off English, it would also appear the stardust will continue to shimmer beyond Simon Bridges' time as Opposition leader.
This week's disastrous result in the Newshub-Reid Research poll, with National on 30.6 per cent approval, was more than one nail in the casket. Bridges' popularity rating of just 4.5 per cent has confirmed what critics within the party have been muttering about as the disastrous "Bridges' effect" hampers National's chances in the September general election.
Last night's 1 News-Colmar Brunton survey, which virtually mirrored the earlier poll, makes Bridges' survival in a caucus no-confidence vote this morning even harder. He enjoys a battler's reputation and is promising to fight, but it's hard to see him dusting himself off and going onto success should he stare down the challenge.
Politics offers few favours for potential and talent when the time is not right. It now appears that Bridges' tenure was frustrated by the momentous events that thrust Ardern into a role she was born for. The Christchurch mosque shootings, the Whakaari/White Island eruption and the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic threw a global-sized floodlight on the New Zealand prime minister - and shade on those without the chance to stand alongside.
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Bridges has played a significant and essential role during this Covid-19 pandemic in leading the Epidemic Response Select Committee. During this period of unprecedented impositions and restrictions, the committee has been New Zealand's most viable means of questioning the decisions that impacts so much on all of us.
Again, however, the attention the committee has received has been shaded each day by the 1pm press conferences where the director general of health and Government spokespeople have outlined the latest situation in the crisis. Ardern has rightly led most of these briefings, while Bridges' select committee hearings have been muted into the background.
Bridges started in stellar fashion, winning the Tauranga electorate in 2008 with an 11,742 vote majority over 11 candidates, including NZ First leader Winston Peters. As NZ First didn't then meet the 5 per cent party vote threshold, it needed at least one candidate to win an electorate seat to make it to Parliament, and Peters' Tauranga candidacy was its best chance that year.
No one has suggested this played a part in Peters' decision to take his party into coalition with Labour when so many National supporters anticipated a National-NZ First alliance in 2017.
But Simon Bridges was so close to being the man of the hour when these troubled times befell New Zealand, one can only wonder how history would have viewed him then.