Why are some in the media saying the Ross saga is a threat to Simon Bridges’ leadership?
His expenses were leaked, he asked for an inquiry, the Speaker appointed someone to do one, cancelled it for no good reason, then secretly got one done anyway.
The PwC report didn’t find conclusive proof of who the leaker is but the evidence “points to Mr Ross”.
Bridges released the report and the caucus will meet to discuss it this morning.
None of this provides grounds to destabilise his leadership.
Even if Ross wasn’t the leaker his bizarre texts show he has ruled himself out of caucus.
If he has mental health issues, and those texts indicate he has, he should get the help he needs, but he should resign while he gets it.
Otherwise, I can’t see that caucus will have any choice but to expel him.
Rather than threatening Bridges as some in the media are forecasting, this will strengthen his leadership, and anyone I’ve spoken to in the party (admittedly a very small number) will support that.
Yes, his personal support in polls is reportedly low. That is inevitable for any leader of the opposition at this time in the electoral cycle.
Although there have been very few public polls, no-one who knows is disputing that National’s party support remains around the same as it was at the election.
Anyone who wants to challenge the leader when the party has that level of support doesn’t have the wisdom and sense to lead.
It might not be much fun being in opposition, but the road out of it is not paved with internal dissent and disunity under a revolving leadership.
Until this blip National was doing a very good job of being united, highlighting faults in the government – and there have been more than enough of them – and working on policy development in preparation for the election.
The decision for caucus is a no-brainer – expel the dissident, carry on united under Bridges’ leadership and earn the votes to return to government.
The alternative is to follow the bad example of Labour which left them wandering in the wilderness of opposition for nearly nine years.