Laugh if you will, but I do think most people expect politicians, across all parties, to know how to behave and to remind themselves what's at stake when they don't.
No party needs all the unnecessary distractions Judith Collins has had to stomach since becoming National Party leader and leader of the Opposition.
She must be pulling her hair out.
Maybe every six months she should send a memo to her parliamentary colleagues: "How's it going team, is there anything I should know about that I wouldn't want to see doing the rounds on social media?"
And send regular reminders. Sometimes we forget, or push things to the back of our minds and then along comes someone or something to remind us of how things really were, and what we did and said.
Everywhere they go politicians are surrounded by people with mobile phones that record conversations and take photos. Private isn't private anymore and nothing off limits.
There is no place to hide.
I like Judith Collins. Unfortunately, politics makes enemies of us all but leaving aside politics, if only we could, I admire her grit and determination. We usually only get a glimpse of Members of Parliament on our TV screens, as they flit through town or in the newspapers.
I had the pleasure of having dinner with Judith some years ago. Just the two of us together. And it was a pleasure. We were both staying at the same accommodation in New Plymouth and rather than both of us sitting on our own having dinner in the restaurant I suggested we dine together.
Poor Judith she probably thought "beam me up Scotty" but no, she graciously accepted and we had a very enjoyable couple of hours together. It's true you get to see another side of people when you spend time with them.
Judith talked of her childhood, successful career as a lawyer before entering Parliament and the love of her life, her husband David. I remember she was surprised, appalled actually, that I didn't get a regular massage.
A must for all busy women according to Judith, "make time for one or two sessions a month". I said massage is something I don't feel comfortable with. Her scornful look said it all.
John Key was prime minister at the time and I remember thinking Judith Collins will be one day too. She's a big hitter and used to doing the heavy lifting.
Leadership is not a popularity contest, but someone has to do it even when everything appears stacked against you. We'll clamber for the job when everything is going well, but few hands get raised when the job will be rough and tough, a job that could possibly put paid to your political career.
I suspect Judith gets up every morning never knowing what might unfold throughout the day. Fingers crossed nothing will backfire and if she only had herself to worry about she'd be sweet. To be a leader you must have followers and this is where it gets tricky. You can't read their minds, dirty minds in some cases, you just have to hope they understand what's at stake when they depart from normal standards of decency and respect.
I know some will scoff at seeing the words politicians, decency and respect used in the same sentence but it's what the public are starting to demand.
And it's when the going gets tough that you see committed leadership. Most people can do a reasonable job when everything is going well. But when you have party members and your own party Members of Parliament embarrassing you as the leader and your party, whose position you are trying desperately to improve, this is where we see steadfast leadership in action.
Leadership that will do what has to be done. Leadership prepared to stay the distance, be that short or long.
- Merepeka Raukawa-Tait is chairwoman of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, a Lakes District Health Board member and Rotorua district councillor.