There are times when I watch the antics of our politicians and I can't help think this is the greatest comedy show in town. And I think we purposefully set it up that way.

Take 120 New Zealanders from all walks of life. Put them in a concrete building in a windy and often challenging city hemmed in by mountains and the sea.

Surround them with an army of over-educated wonks who prefer to think rather than do. Surround them with a cabal of media with their eyes peeled for any slip-up.


Lock the doors and then let them go at each other like rats fighting in a cage. Put it all on the telly - and then the rest us just sit back with our popcorn and watch the carnival.

So yesterday, the Prime Minister stepped outside the asylum to address some teachers who'd marched there in the blustery weather. It wasn't scheduled and a bit ad hoc and you could tell.

She was trying to be empathetic and hold a tight fiscal line at the same time and you could almost watch the battle playing out on her forehead.

But then the tweets broke out asking what on earth is the PM wearing on her feet. It looks like slippers. Cue faux outrage.

Look at the nursing PM so wrapped up in her baby that she's wearing slippers in public. How on earth can we take her seriously? It was hilarious.

The fact was she was wearing the NZ export success Allbirds sneakers. Sneakers made of merino wool. Very practical and super comfortable and perfect for someone rushing around working.

As a regular sneaker wearer myself I thought nothing of it. But you couldn't write this stuff though. The slipper wearing PM and the rabid leftist hordes.

Then there is the great Bridges Leak Investigation, or BLI, or 'limogate' or whatever you want to call it.


Someone leaked the Leader of the Opposition's transport expenses, three days before they were going to become public anyway. Now, this was the most predictable outrage ever since it was public knowledge that Simon Bridges has been on a 70-meeting tiki tour of the country and he wasn't turning up in a rental Suzuki Swift.

But there we go. Cue outrage or indifference.

And there I thought it would end, particularly when Jacinda Ardern revealed she blew the budget in her first weeks as Opposition leader too.

But the leader of the Opposition decided that he would demand a witchhunt using an expensive QC and the Speaker agreed. Having been accused of being fast and loose with taxpayers' money he decided to ask us to spend even more.

So now the story is about the leak - and the wild speculation is fantastic.

The Speaker did it. Judith Collins did it - killing two birds with one stone, smearing Labour and shaming Bridges and clearing the way for Crusher to come again.
Winston did it as revenge for his NZ Super details being leaked.


I guess these are all possible but you've got to say it's entertaining. And then there were the people who blame Bridges for leaking his details himself.

The thinking here is that to hide the story that Simon blew the budget and polled low that you leak the expenses and make the story about the leak. Apparently, this is called the classic bait and switch or the old switcheroo.

It's all very entertaining and depressing at the same time. Here's the story. Parliament leaks. It always has. Simon blew his budget. They all do. He's not polling very well and yes the PM wears sensible shoes.

* Andrew Dickens Afternoons on Newstalk ZB, midday to 4pm weekdays.