Simon Bridges continues his slow but steady rehabilitation into what you might loosely call a pretty decent opposition leader.

The National Party conference might well turn out to be the turning point. A couple of weekends back his cancer announcement shamed the Government into a shambolic and patched together mini-announcement on getting some machinery to treat cancer into the regions.

The fact Bridges could make such a grandiose promise - when the Government having promised pretty much the same thing, but had done nothing two years into office - was a gift from the political heavens.


Simon Bridges says some Ihumātao protesters have 'nothing better to do'
'We are already home': Ihumātao group responds to Simon Bridges' comments

Then came a poll, with National at 45 per cent. The lead party and the chance to one, prove they're still very viable, and two, shut the leadership critics down.

And now he's on the front foot over Ihumātao.

And it comes as all the lefties, angsties, and virtue signallers have traipsed and trampled their way to South Auckland, as the media have fallen over themselves to give maximum coverage to a group of the rent-a-crowd, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has decided all building stops until she's resolved it, and upon announcing that, she ran for Tokelau and left a couple of ministers to basically do nothing but more yak. Only to return to the country last week, see that nothing had happened and then announce it was the Government's role to facilitate.

Facilitate what? More yak?

Meantime come on in Simon, who dare I suggest has articulated what most of us have been thinking. Tell them to go home, get the police involved, and as Prime Minister, not touch the thing with a barge pole.

Bridges, more than Ardern, given he has legal training and she does not, would understand the dangers of doing what the Government is doing.

By indulging the protest, you raise hopes, in raising hopes you raise the possibility of a resolution, in raising that possibility you are potentially endangering the entire Treaty process. The message, if a cheque is written, is all deals are off. Go find a bit of land you think you have a connection to, park yourself and wait for the ministerial limousine with the bootload of cash.


Meanwhile Bridges saying what he has sounds sensible, rational, logical and - dare I suggest - just a bit adult.

The Government, mainly Labour and the Greens, look out of their depth, panicked, reactionary. Their go-to positron is talk, let's talk, and talk, and talk some more. They have no ideas, no plan, no decisions, no action - just lots and lots of talk.

This isn't actually an issue, it's a group of people with a grievance, that's not new. It's only got life because short of a clear idea, the Government freaked out and dipped their toe in, and it's been downhill from there.

Are we really any further along than we were weeks ago? No.
Why? Because talk isn't a plan.

That's why Bridges - increasingly with well-judged, nicely timed interventions into the issues of the day - looks like a well reasoned, steady pair of hands.

* An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Ihumātao land was sold. It was confiscated by the Crown.