At first, it looked like a simple employment matter. A dispute between a chief executive and an employee who took umbrage at the suggestion that he was unfit for advancement and then proceeded by his reaction to demonstrate just how unfit - you get that a lot in corporate life.

The actions of Jami-Lee Ross, Simon Bridges, their acolytes, deputies, alleged camps, donors and other members of this ragtag bunch of misfits have been deplorable.

They're not exactly setting an example. My children are all grown up but I can only imagine how those of you with offspring at an impressionable age have been explaining this to your moppets.


It's more proof, if any were needed, that politicians are the last people who should be running a country. In many ways, of course, they don't. The actions that really influence the economy, the social system and the rest of our lives are really made every day by business people, criminals and others just going about their normal business.

But, politicians continue to act like they matter. People who can't for the life of them recall what they did with $100,000 and struggle to remember who gave it to them would like us to give them the keys to the economy.

You wouldn't trust them to keep an eye on your bicycle while you popped into a shop.

The inability of Bridges and Ross to sort out their differences only emphasised their similarities. It was enough to make you wish duelling was legal. The good thing about pistols at dawn is that afterwards you could go out for brunch.

As one former MP who does deserve your respect tweeted: "Poor behaviour by married men is now outlawed in Parliament. Well that's half the place gone I suppose."

These are the same people who pay forelock-tugging acknowledgement to their long-suffering families in their retirement speeches - lumps in throats optional - for all they've put up with. And yet, sincere as they no doubt are, those speeches usually come at the end of long careers rather than in the middle, when their families might still have some residual interest in seeing them.

Not everyone has taken it that seriously. On day two of the saga it was reported that Ross was waiting for an appointment with police to drop off his fraud charges. As though they were going to deal with important things first and get to the politicians when they had time.

But that was before the bombshell sex pest allegations put the whole thing in an even more tawdry light.


And all that time, there were many other important things going on in the world. Here's a few that came to light in 24 hours of the melodrama's cycle and quickly vanished from the national attention span.

We saw the first indication that the high cost of petrol and its flow-on into the economy were likely to cause inflation. We saw a group of brave women with breast cancer hoping that Pharmac would fund drugs that would extend their lives by two years march on a Parliament that was otherwise preoccupied. We learned that not one but two old people died in their homes unnoticed in Hawke's Bay and lay decomposing for some time before anyone noticed. We learned that people looking after the elderly in care are in the grip of a staffing crisis - along with teachers, Northland anaesthetic staff and nurses. There is uncertainty over the future of the academic Research and Education advanced Network of New Zealand - which gets universities together to share knowledge in a world where many people think research is the future. And so on.

Which is why it really is an employment matter in the end. National is no longer employing Ross. His caucus soon may not be employing Bridges. And we will not be employing the National Party as our government.