Tracy Watkins wonders why Curran’s throat wasn’t cut properly and the folly of the Bridges inquiry

Tracy Watkins wonders why Curran’s throat wasn’t cut properly: Quote:

Unfinished business can be toxic in politics. Which is why Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should have ripped off the plaster and stripped her beleaguered minister Clare Curran of all her portfolios, rather than allow her to limp on with her authority undermined.

Curran already had form for doing the very same thing she was demoted over: failing to be upfront about dealings with people related to her portfolios.

Ardern will keep facing questions about why she failed to cut her loose.?End quote.

In just 10 months Clare Curran has been caught out twice. How many other undeclared meetings have there been? How many more will there be? What else is she hiding??Quote:

Speaker Trevor Mallard has also created a vacuum that would only be filled by conspiracy theories and unanswered questions.

Having announced a full-scale inquiry into “limogate” leaking?of Opposition leader Simon Bridges’s expenses just this week, he pulled the rug out from under it, creating bad blood between himself and National.

On any given day, either story would be huge.?End quote.

Mallard saw an opportunity to snooker National and Bridges, and took it. But Bridges placed himself in that predicament in the first place.?Quote:

But the mystery surrounding the identity of the person who leaked “limogate” makes it a story that won’t go away ? which is why the timing of both of Friday’s big announcements leaves more questions than answers.

If nothing else, it will spark a multitude of dark theories. And it will do nothing for the already toxic state of relations not just between National and the Government, but National MPs and the Speaker.

To recap; Mallard pulled the inquiry led by Michael Heron,?QC,?after it was revealed police had established the identity of the person who sent a text to the Speaker and Bridges claiming to be the same person who leaked details of the National leader’s travel expenses.

The text implored them to drop the inquiry, citing mental health issues.Bridges sought advice from a mental health expert and police who, it seems, established the identity of the leaker very quickly.

Police advised Bridges the person was receiving appropriate support for their mental health, but refused to give him their identity for privacy reasons.

That suggests they were able to access the information from the phone company concerned on the grounds of concern for the person’s safety.

That might have been where things were left except details of the text ? which went to just Mallard and Bridges ? were then leaked to RNZ.

And those details included some that suggested the person had inside knowledge of what went on inside the National Party caucus room.

Mallard called off the inquiry on that basis, implying that, as it was clearly a National MP, it was now a matter for an internal inquiry, rather than one conducted under his auspices.?End quote.

So there are possibly two leakers…or more. That should be a concern to Simon Bridges.?Quote:

Except?Stuff?has been told the text was by no means incontrovertible evidence of an inside job ? and while some of the information supplied by the texter could suggest they were a National MP, that information could also have been picked up or deduced by a wider circle of people, including staff.

We have not been shown the text, so there is no way of verifying that.

But Bridges has now been left in the worst of all worlds.

Having called for an inquiry, he was obliged to stick to his guns on the issue, even after it appeared that he might not like the answer should it turn out to be a National MP.

That would have suggested a concerted campaign to destabilise his leadership.

But having now been informed by police that the person concerned has mental health issues, Bridges has no way of knowing for sure whether that might be one of his MPs, a staff member, or even someone from the Speaker’s office.

An inquiry might have allowed Parliament to find that person and put support around them if necessary. Alternatively, it might have found that the text was a smokescreen.

But we may never know. Worse for Bridges, the finger of suspicion is now pointed at an internal leak, suggesting cracks in National’s unity. Mallard may not have done Labour many favours either. National’s response will be to blow smoke about the Speaker’s motives.

And there’s where the rot will set in.?End quote.

The rot has already set in. National MPs are leaking about their leader.?Quote:

Because both Mallard and Bridges have known about the text for a week ? yet it was only on Friday that Mallard pulled the rug out from under the inquiry, just a day after appointing Heron to lead it.

That was despite no new information coming forward in the meantime.?End quote.

Mallard’s actions are whiffy.?Quote:

National’s statement late on Friday makes it clear the party is losing confidence in the Speaker, especially after the bomb exploded on a Friday, just hours before Ardern stripped one of her ministers of her portfolios.

It all adds up to National and the Speaker being on a collision course when Parliament resumes a week on Monday.

The Government has the numbers for Mallard to survive a no-confidence vote should that happen.

But it will make for a near-unworkable Parliament.

And here we are laughing at the Aussies over?the state of their politics. Will we be laughing out of the other side of our face this time next year? End quote.

We may well be laughing next year. One minister is down, several others are walking wounded and we have one of the more partisan speakers in the house since Margaret Wilson limped off stage.