Simon Bridges’ hopeless week

National leader Simon Bridges

The role of the leader of the opposition is probably the worst role in politics, particularly if the incumbent has taken the position after an election loss. Opposition leaders get little traction at the best of times, but it is really difficult if the prime minister is popular. Ask Phil Goff, David Shearer, David Cunliffe or Andrew Little.

Things have been even tougher than usual for Simon Bridges because the Christchurch massacre gave Jacinda an opportunity to shine. She may not know the difference between the Crown accounts and GDP, but her natural empathy has recently given her an extra store of political capital, even though she has done very little to deserve it. Simon Bridges must be desperate for life to return to normal, so that his phone starts ringing again.

For a politician, there is nothing worse than getting no attention from the media. David Cormack, former Labour and Green Party worker, has decided to write an article about Simon, but it is not complimentary. Still, never forget the old saying – “It doesn’t matter what they say about you, so long as they are talking about you’. quote.

Simon Bridges attacks a lot. Attacks everything. He just sprays and sprays like a firehose not being held by anyone. He had a crack at Jacinda Ardern last year for being a weak leader. Following the Christchurch terrorist attack I think we can put that notion to bed. She was inspirational and hopeful. She made quick decisions without being rushed and she said all the right words. end quote.

Okay, well that sets the scene, and tells us which side of the political divide Cormack is on. Giving a few hugs and wearing a symbol of female subjugation may make a strong leader in Cormack’s book, but I beg to disagree. quote.

Now he’s attacking the Labour Party from 2013 for voting against giving the GCSB more wide-ranging powers six years ago. He’s stopped short of saying it explicitly, but the implication is that Labour voting against the GCSB bill in 2013 is at least partly responsible for the Christchurch terrorist attack.

Simon, mate, just last week I praised your displays of unity. I said your speech struck a positive tone and National was making all the right noises. And then one week later you plunge to new depths of awfulness by suggesting Labour are somehow responsible for the terrorist attack. end quote.

Simon did not say that, and didn’t really imply it. He was pointing out that both Labour and the Greens were previously vociferously opposed to tightening our security laws. Although he is not saying that this caused the massacre, he is pointing out that Labour was not interested in national security… until there was a terror attack on their watch.


What’s stupider is that the 2013 bill passed. The GCSB got wider powers despite Labour voting against it. And the Christchurch terrorist attack still happened. If you’re going to politicise a tragedy and blame a political party for it, at least make sure it stacks up.

Even more staggering is that the GCSB asked for a funding increase in 2015 to help rebuild their technology and this was denied for 12 months. Do you know who was in Government when that happened Simon? You were. The National Party. end quote.

Cormack is trying to pretend that Labour wanted tougher security laws all along, but National, having passed their original bill, then stalled everything else. You can’t have it both ways, David. We all know that both Labour and the Greens have always been against tightening the security laws, probably for no better reason than because National wanted them tightened. Boy, has that attitude come back to haunt them, and Simon knows it. quote.

Look, Simon, I’m sorry that you’re completely sidelined at the moment. And I’m sorry that your attempts to be relevant is just you sitting in a corner, fingers mashing away at your phone as you send out one typo-riddled tweet after the next demanding that we bring in tougher surveillance laws. New Zealand doesn’t want policy made up on the hoof by a man who voted against gay marriage, by a man who supports keeping abortion on the Crimes Act, by a man who when Minister of Energy and Resources signed off on allowing drilling in a National Park without realising, or in fact ever having even heard of the National Park.

A Newspaper. end quote.

I think the above quote is enough to demonstrate that this article is nothing more than another biased rant. I would have actually ignored it, but for a couple of important things:

Simon Bridges is right when he reminds the country that Labour and the Greens did not want our security laws tightened

David Cormack has given Simon Bridges some very welcome oxygen. He did not intend this, of course; the article is a complete put-down. But he has forgotten the first law of politics; “It doesn’t matter what they say about you, so long as they are talking about you”.

You go, Simon.