Bridges gets a first month pass mark

I haven’t warmed to Simon Bridges yet. His speech isn’t exactly riveting – he often sounds quite boring. Maybe i should take notice to see if there is any substance.

He’s had a largely neutral debut with the media, they have neither dumped on him nor arderned him.

It is early days for his leadership. He needs to be making an impact in two years time in the lead up to the election that will presumably be late in 2020, so he has time to grow into the job.

Tracy Watkins at Stuff will have seen Bridges close up, and she has given him a pass mark for his first month.

Stuff: Govt needs to cross Simon’s well-built bridge

Simon Bridges passed his first month in the job last week. That’s a milestone worth celebrating in these fast-moving times. Another month or so and he’ll equal Jacinda Ardern’s time as Opposition leader.

Bridges has enjoyed nothing like the giddy surge of popularity that marked Ardern’s first days in the job. But he has made a better than decent fist of it so far.

He’s picked his battles. He’s taken his wins where he can get them. He’s worked hard to get up to speed across every portfolio. He’s even got shades of the everyman charisma that worked for Sir John Key.

I haven’t seen that in Bridges yet.

And he’s been luckier than most new Opposition leaders. Far from taking over a beaten and demoralised team, he’s inherited a formidable machine that’s carried on from government without breaking stride. This is the most determined opposition we’ve seen in a long while.

Added to that, it wouldn’t have been hard for any Opposition leader to look less bad than Labour, NZ First and Greens over the past month.

He’s got what it takes to lead National to an election victory, particularly against a government that is making such heavy weather of things at the moment.

I don’t know if he’s got what it takes, and it will be a while before we find out what voters generally think of him. Polls are rare at the moment.

Except the odds of Bridges winning are no better now than when he took over the leadership, even up against a government that seems to be making heavy weather of everything at the moment.

If the Government doesn’t sort there shit out this assessment may change.

It’s not just Ardern that Bridges has to beat. He has to beat MMP.

That means finding an ally in either NZ First or the Greens. The odds on that are steep to implausible.

Both certainly look very unlikely allies at this stage.

Alternatively, Bridges will have to lead National to an all-out majority so it can govern alone. Even Key and Helen Clark never managed that – and they were both hugely popular leaders.

But the situation now is different to any other time under MMP, with fewer small parties than ever, and all of them in precarious positions.

Greens in particular but also NZ First were at risk of missing the threshold last election, and NZ First is currently polling under the threshold. If they don’t show real gains during this term they will both be at risk of not surviving.

Given the hopelessness of new parties getting up to the ridiculously high threshold, there’s a real chance next election may come down to little more than National versus Labour.

Much may then depend on how well Bridges builds his profile and leadership potential,  and whether Jacinda Ardern can maintain her initially surge of popularity.

As already said, it’s early days, and two and a half years is a long time in politics.

But Bridges has made an ok start so far.


  1. lurcher1948

     /  April 7, 2018

    It’s not hard to look good when you do nothing and have a right wing journalist writing about it, so let’s not mention the airbag recall Mr Do nothing did…nothing about them.

    • Gezza

       /  April 7, 2018

      Tru dat.

    • Gezza

       /  April 7, 2018

      He’ll have to go. 😠
      Coleman’s done a bunk. 🤔
      Who else have they got? 😳

      • lurcher1948

         /  April 7, 2018

        NEVER HAS CRUSHED A CAR Collins if you are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

  2. Blazer

     /  April 7, 2018

    omitting his faux pas of not even knowing Nationals position on …prisoners voting.He is quite invisible,but showed leadership in getting Bennett to bring him some…water.Dry politicians…need a good supply.

  3. PartisanZ

     /  April 7, 2018

    Report Card for Simon Bridges first month …

    Who? Oh, yes, Simon …

    Aside from a couple of outbursts, Simon has been surprisingly quiet …

    He seems to be having trouble drawing attention to himself.

    • Gezza

       /  April 7, 2018

      Been on 1ewes a couple times, not being very complimentary about the government, but not particularly memorable. He is having the problem Andrew Little had. TV news approaches him for comment, he puts on his frowning earnest look & Katie gives him 3 seconds of exposure. She’s not really paying attention to what he said – it’s just what you do – get a quick comment from the Opposition leader & shove it in somewhere in the main item about the government. Doesn’t really matter what he’s saying. Nobody’s listening. Who is he anyway? Didn’t he used to be the Minister of something or other in the last government? Bloody whinger.

  4. David

     /  April 7, 2018

    I think National should spend less time and effort at question time, Trev has turned it into a depressingly pointless forum which would suck the lifeblood out of any sane person.
    Time could be spent more productively working on other things, I do have some sympathy with them in that most oppositions spend time picking apart government legislation but Labour dont really have any and most of what is being passed is Nationals stuff.

  5. David

     /  April 7, 2018

    It was a constant theme that National lacked a good opposition and became lazy in government and now we have a useless government so National have no need to raise their game in opposition.

    • Blazer

       /  April 7, 2018

      you say that the Govt is passing National stuff=good news,one would ..think!

      • Gezza

         /  April 7, 2018

        National supporters would no doubt be happier if Labour would publicise it as National’s policy when they implement rather than the done-bugger-all-but-pontificate-yet lazy bastards trying to claim credit for it as all their work.

        Roll on the bloody budget. Let’s get some meat on their bones.

      • David

         /  April 7, 2018

        It is Blazer particularly Amy Adams expunging the historical convictions for the gays this week, long overdue.

  6. David

     /  April 7, 2018

    Bridges unfortunately doesnt have many opportunities from the worlds laziest government but this week he could have pledged to revert back to the 2 year bright line test, promised to re instate the RONS thing and reverse the petrol tax.
    Stand up and take a stand because it works, if he stood for something decisive it would make a contrast to the wishy washy girl we have in charge at the moment.

    • Gezza

       /  April 7, 2018

      He’s looking like a pansy, tbh.

      • David

         /  April 7, 2018

        Hence why I think he needs to take a stand on something, anything