Simon Bridges is back for a new week.

Clearly fortified over a long weekend, he returned to the capital with his Epidemic Response Committee, telling all who would listen that he'd do the same thing again. That was to point out that the Australian government may well have the march on us when it comes to its overall handling of the crisis.

We have both done well on the health front, but Australia is off and running economically. They have relaxations all over the place, from Western Australia, to South Australia, to Queensland, to New South Wales. They have more shops, bigger weddings, haircuts, larger bubbles and more gatherings. Every aspect of their economy has a slightly better projection and trajectory than ours.

And that's what Bridges said, and seemingly attracted a bit of attention from the detractors and as a result got a headline and the sniff of a coup as well. There was no coup of course, that's just the media doing sadly what the media does.


But the important thing to remember and I hope with this week's reassuring re-messaging he's learned it, is that getting haters online is grist to the mill, entirely predictable and, to be frank, 26,000 bored people on social media is just a day at the office if you put it in perspective. That's before you get to the simple truth that most of it will be organised to cause trouble. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

What Bridges appears to lack at times is the courage of his convictions and balls. Say what you mean and mean what you say. What he said had merit and fact behind it, but it doesn't mean you'll get universal acceptance or support. It might mean you rile a few up. Good, that's what he is there for.

The pattern has emerged that there is a tiny clique who have all the power under the state of emergency. There is a group of New Zealanders who seem happy and compliant to be in lock step with the utterances of that handful. That is fine.

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But there are lots who aren't. They are called the silent majority and their importance and numbers are never to be forgotten. Most people don't have time to whine on Facebook, so the 26,000 that bothered Bridges should have been given the weight they deserve.

This Government's performance over Covid-19 needs greater scrutiny than it's got, and Bridges is a critical part of that. The media, broadly, have been too compliant. The number that have really run a consistent programme of hard-ish questions is few and far between.

So although Bridges has trouble getting heard given the all-encompassing nature of the story, his role has never been more vital. His reassuringly fresh attitude this week is to be encouraged, given there is plenty of material to challenge the Government on.

So yes do it again, and keep doing it, and by August you might find it's paying off.