COMMENT:

The mistake Simon Bridges made yesterday was not being what so many of us want him to be.

A leader.

He called for and got an inquiry, the inquiry pinged a leaker. At that point a leader, a proper leader, would have acted.

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And when I say acted that doesn't mean sending it off to caucus today. By sending it off to caucus, it's in the hands of caucus, it's in the hands of others.

What if they don't do with Ross what Bridges wants? What if they, by not suspending him from the caucus, undermine their leader and further erode his stature which is already, let's be honest, in some real trouble.

A real leader would have yesterday suspended him on the spot.

Bridges, and rightly so, has made a big deal of all this. It is paramount that what he says is true, and what he said was that he has everyone on board.

He didn't. So when it's proven he didn't, he needs to fix that - not hand it over to others to maybe fix it or maybe not. The move to caucus is a risk he doesn't need to take.

Put the ball in the caucus' court. Be a leader. Suspend the bloke and when someone says that's not technically your job, face them down and tell them to defy you.

That is leadership, that sends a message to bullies, leakers and traitors. And you will note a certain Mrs J Collins of East Auckland took to social media to point this out.

You would then lay down the same argument to the wider party who deal with membership. Tell them to sack him.

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Force a byelection. They'll win it hands down. No one is supporting a traitor, far less one like Ross, who has not been around long enough to be a genuine threat as a local MP with independent support.

In fact a byelection with Jami-Lee Ross standing and losing would further enhance the Bridges message that he's not to be messed with.

All of that, for now anyway, is just theory because Bridges hasn't done any of it.
He's merely followed protocol and handed the future of his leadership over to his caucus - and hopes like hell they go along with him.

I hope they do too, but he's not helping his cause.

The other reason to tidy this fast is of course the government. They get the sort of break you can only pray for.

Dysfunction and betrayal in the ranks is Manna from heaven for a government bogged down in a myriad of other issues that would otherwise grab the headlines.

Bridges' first mistake was arguing he didn't have trouble in the ranks. His second was not owning it yesterday.

If today doesn't go his way, he's toast.