Simon Bridges responds to criticism of his criticism

Simon Bridges has copped a lot of flack this week, largely over a Facebook post. The response to his in some ways critical assessment of Government actions over Covid were far more than what some have claimed, biased media and left wing stirrers. Polls showing 87% of people support or strongly support Government actions suggest a strong tide to swim against for Bridges and National.

Bridges has responded to social media and mainstream media with an explanation emailed to presumably National supporters.

From Homepaddock: Someone has to ask the questions

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have left no part of New Zealand untouched.

We see it in our communities, our streets, and our homes. The reality of our situation is present, real and personal to us all, and we are reminded of it on a daily basis.

I’m proud of the way … all Kiwis, have united together in our country’s time of need, by everyone doing their bit in helping to eliminate the virus.

As a team, we are all too aware that we are only as strong as the most vulnerable and at-risk in our communities. We have a duty to be united in our effort for the greater good, but we also have a duty to ensure those that need a strong voice to speak for them have that opportunity.

Every day we receive hundreds of emails and calls from Kiwis in distress. Frustrated at the lack of clarity in the ever-changing information for them, their families, their kids, their friends, their businesses. And chances are you’ll know some of them personally too. They want us to find them answers.

When we ask questions about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), we’re thinking of the many frontline staff who have written to us going to work every morning, sacrificing their safety, and in desperate need of that PPE to keep themselves and others safe. So, we want answers for them.

When we ask questions about testing capacity, we’re thinking about the many hundreds who’ve contacted us who live in fear that they’re going to infect the ones they love or care about and couldn’t get a test to allay that fear. So, we want answers for them.

When we ask questions about better contact tracing, we think about the unbelievable sacrifice every Kiwi has made over the past four weeks, and if we don’t have full confidence from where or whom the virus is coming, we risk returning to a higher state of lockdown and greater hardship. We want answers for you.

When we ask questions about the effects on the economy and jobs, we think about the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis employed by small and medium sized businesses which may close, and ultimately lose their jobs, if we don’t get this right. They are the backbone of our economy and they need certainty too.

We’ve got through this well together so far, showing true resilience, grit and determination in the face of great difficulty. However, the fact remains we will still have to ask hard questions about the future health, social, and economic costs of this pandemic.

Some may not like the questions we ask. Some may not like the way we ask them. But we will keep asking them until we get the answers people need and deserve.

I will never forget the personal sacrifice and hardship Kiwis have faced to eliminate COVID-19 from our communities. Everything we say or do will be focused on how we continue to protect our most vulnerable and get New Zealand back on track. You are part of our strength and we welcome your input.

We have faith that with the right approach, New Zealanders and our economy can rebuild successfully after this crisis. We’ve done it before and together we will do it again.

Simon Bridges, Leader of the Opposition.

Posted in full to give Bridges a chance to respond amongst the media noise.

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24 Comments

  1. Kimbo

     /  24th April 2020

    For Bridges, no matter what he does, he is now doomed. And as is always the case with the way these things are done, Key’s recent spruking of Christopher Luxon as a PM-in-waiting is the barely-coded-sign, indeed rallying cry that the lethal attack is not being coordinated outside the National Party by Bridges’ ostensible opponents, but his enemy within.

    Reply
    • Yes, supporters can try to blame it on biased media and organised opponent parties as much as they like, but their are serious signs from within National that Bridges is on a terminal slide. It’s easy to ignore opposing activists, but when the rot is within that can’t be ignored without inflicting damage on your own party.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  24th April 2020

        Lacks the killer instinct as an attacker and charm as a defender. Doesn’t look like developing either.

        Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  24th April 2020

        They don’t call John Key the smiling assassin for nothing.

        And Don Brash never did find out who leaked his parliamentary emails.

        Two entirely random, and unrelated observations, and I never did Latin so I have no idea what “qui bono?” means. 😳😂

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  24th April 2020

          Indeed, the contrast with Key is dramatic and what I had in mind. Muldoon had the killer instinct and Lange had the charm. Key had both.

          Reply
          • Kimbo

             /  24th April 2020

            Best of all had to be Helen Clark – orchestrating a coup against the hapless Geoffrey Palmer seven weeks before the 1990 election…to set up a guy to take the reputational hit working damage control in what was always going to be an electoral rout, and whom she was always intending to undermine to take the job herself. Which she duly did just after Mike Moore’s second defeat at the 1993 election, despite him nearly pulling it off…but for her apparatchiks doing everything they could during the campaign to sandbag Moore.

            Clark may not have been charming, but she sure knew how to play the long game!

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  24th April 2020

              Yes, she had her silent assasin behind her as well. The female of the species can certainly be deadly.

        • Kimbo

           /  24th April 2020

          Hence my cast-iron alibi that I can’t even spell “cui bono?” correctly. 🧐

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  24th April 2020

          I resisted the urge to tactfully enquire about that one for fear of setting off a whiner here who prefers to continue to look childishly ignorant than to appreciate a minor correction.

          Reply
  2. David

     /  24th April 2020

    Bridges should promise the media 75 million with possibly more in his next budget, seems effective.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  24th April 2020

      There is some serious thinking & strategising going on in Labour & I am thinking, because it would be entirely consistent with studies for a comms degree that Jacinda is driving, not just following, it.

      Reply
      • David

         /  24th April 2020

        Its a clever move but a very unprincipled move. They should have just announced the support package and that was that, I find the more to come message as appalling and unbecoming of her. Its like purchasing future favourable coverage after being rewarded for spending several days kicking your opponent in the teeth.

        Reply
  3. duperez

     /  24th April 2020

    The way of the world makes being in politics a knife edge, high rope minute by minute thing.
    While the essence of politics should be the same as ever, the essence has changed.

    The world that Bridges occupies is the same as that which Holyoake had as Leader of the Opposition isn’t it? They both had the same job

    The tides of complaints about the media not doing its job, not holding the government (or other politicians) to account or being partial are eternal.

    But if Holyoake said a word out of place in Wellington how was it reported and by who? Did it make it to the masses? How?

    Bridges says any word and there are some wanting to project it as being out of place. Hordes are waiting to wobble the high rope to have him fall to the sharks. And they do. Maybe Bridges isn’t the man for the way the game is played. Maybe a reality TV host, quick thinking, brazen, smooth talking, snake oil saleswoman or man, preferably armour plated is needed.

    As personal as it is, it’s not personal about Bridges The game is the same but it’s dramatically different.

    Reply
    • Kimbo

       /  24th April 2020

      Disagree. Human nature hasn’t changed, including reporting of politicians. Therefore clangers such as

      “We are neither for the wharfies, nor against them (Walter Nash in 1951)

      “We will give the new (Labour) government six months before criticising them (recently defeated Jack Marshall in 1973)

      “Crisis? What crisis?” (UK PM Jim Callaghan in 1979)

      “We are suffering a crisis of confidence” (the hapless Jimmy Carter in 1979)

      …were all political clangers of that approximate era

      And the all time (allegedly misreported) favourite:

      “Let them eat cake” (Marie Antoinette, 1789)

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  24th April 2020

        You’re right, human nature hasn’t changed, including reporting of politicians. But things have changed about the way of reporting of politicians.

        Fancy Antoinette’s 1789 comment still living. I don’t think many of Simon Bridges ones will live that long. Or Deborah Russell’s.

        But for the flurries, the bursts of hysteria, (exaggeration coming up) ‘millions’ of responses and reactions published far and wide, the National party leader’s ‘gaffes’ and Russell’s are made out to be the end of the world, of dramatic significance.

        ( I don’t know enough about Antoinette to comment on whether reporters and ordinary people followed her around 27/7 recording what she said and did and spread it far and wide.

        Reply
    • “The tides of complaints about the media not doing its job, not holding the government (or other politicians) to account or being partial are eternal.”

      It’s not that long ago that The Standard was a cacophony of discontent at the media treatment of Labour leaders in Opposition, not dissimilar to the daily wailing at Kiwiblog now (except even there there’s lukewarm support for Bridges).

      Reply
    • Kimbo

       /  24th April 2020

      But ok, even if we grant greater coverage and intensity in the digital age, also remember these guys have plenty of lucratively paid spin doctors running interference or coaching them how to avoid tough questions and scrutiny.

      Bridges like any politician has been subject to the driving force in his vocation, “events, my dear fellow, events” (Harold Macmillan). But then navigating those while maintaining and projecting a good media profile, while arguably trivial in and of itself, is one of the few criteria by which the public can assess the competence of a politician. And as Alan Wilkinson suggests, Bridges, despite strengths that Ardern lacks, has fared poorly…irrespective of the hand that he has been dealt.

      Reply
    • Kimbo

       /  24th April 2020

      Or

      “Extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue” (an immediate election-losing pronouncement by Barry Goldwater when accepting the Presidential candidate’s nomination at the 1964 Republican convention).

      Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  24th April 2020

    Simon lacks the easy natural (or carefully cultivated) charm of some popular politicians & projects as a very wooden, shallow kind of figure. He doesn’t project the image of a natural leader. And I’m afraid that his awful, nasally diction has a lazy, ignorant-sounding quality to it that, while I’m sure he’s far being both from ignorant & lazy in reality, I reckon it must combine with his seemingly having no real new ideas & just falling back on National hardliner policies to create the unfavourable gut reaction most folk I’ve spoken to have of him.

    In many ways he seems to me to be the Angry Andy of the National party. Even those National supporters who want a National government asap seem to balk at the idea of Simon Bridges heading it.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  24th April 2020

      He’s top minister material. He should make the call to stand down himself. Why he’d want to be an opposition leader at this time is beyond me. I guess that’s why I’m no polly. I don’t understand what drives these folk.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  24th April 2020

        Hubris will do him in in the end Corks. He seems to have a very unfortunate knack of shooting himself in the foot whenever he starts to gain a bit of public traction, creating coup opportunities on an ongoing basis.

        I haven’t seriously evaluated his record as a Cabinet Minister. Can you think of anything you would describe as significant or lasting achievements. He just seemed to me to be someone rather self-efacing, hanging around at photo opportunities witn Sir John, Turnbull’s footstool.

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  24th April 2020

          No, I can’t think of anything major he has done. He just seems like good cabinet material.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  24th April 2020

            🤔

            That makes him sound more like good Cabinet material for Jacinda’s government than for a National one tho, bro? 😐

            Reply
  5. Things haven’t been going well for National lately. Another bit of bad PR.

    National MP Tim Macindoe apologises for joking about pushing women off a balcony

    National MP Tim Macindoe has apologised for making a joke about pushing women off a balcony during a Facebook livestream of the Justice Select Committee.

    At the beginning of the livestream before any submitters appeared, Macindoe could be heard saying: “I did push my two first wives off the balcony of our upper floor apartment,” prompting laughter from some MPs.

    National MP Nick Smith then said, “I think we are in public session.”

    A dumb joke, especially at the Justice Select Committee whether he thought the mic was on or not.

    “I’d suggest you listen to the context, because clearly we were having a bit of banter. You can see that all the MPs are laughing, and it was in reference to the fact I’d been a Whip,” Macindoe said.

    “You probably remember Francis Urquhart pushed someone off a balcony at the end of the series of House of Cards. That was the context and I was a Senior Whip.

    “It was nothing remotely about domestic violence. I haven’t had two previous wives. I’m very happily married to the same person, my only wife who I’ve been married to for 31 years.

    But damage done, and not helpful for National struggling with a lack of empathy.

    Reply

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