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Simon Bridges’ not very good first week

Written By: - Date published: 9:37 am, March 4th, 2018 - 44 comments
Categories: crime, Environment, national, prisons, same old national, Simon Bridges, sustainability, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, transport, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Spare a thought for Simon Bridges. This week he has taken on the most difficult job in politics, being the leader of the opposition.

The first week is very important. It is a chance to make a name for yourself and set down the themes you want to rely on in your quest for the top job. And first impressions are vital. The dominant initial feelings that the population have for you are very hard to shake loose.

If this is the case then Bridges’ first week has been a disaster. And I suspect Judith Collins is already planning for the future.

There were two extraordinary blunders on his part. He claimed that he was environmentally friendly when the most cursory view of his Ministerial history would confirm that this is not the case. And he forgot that his Government oversaw the stripping of democratic rights from all prisoners, and said that some prisoners should have the right to vote but then quickly adjusted his position when his error was pointed out to him.

From Newshub:

Newshub Nation host Lisa Owen asked Mr Bridges about his environmental record, particularly during his time as Energy Minister.

In 2014, he signed off on mining exploration on Department of Conservation land at Victoria Park forest. In 2017, he opened part of the Maui’s dolphin breeding ground for oil exploration off the Taranaki coast. In 2015, he said mining had been a mainstay on the West Coast for 150 years “and long may it continue”.

National’s energy policy from 2017 says New Zealand’s “oil and gas potential is huge, we could be the richest little country in the world”.

“Do I resile any of those things? No, because actually resources are important, whether it’s for cellphones, whether it’s in houses and so on. We do need to do that, but we also need to transition,” Mr Bridges said.

He said he’d also pushed for public transport funding, cycle ways, electric vehicles and renewable energy.

“My record on the environment is strong.”

How someone who was so pro roads and pro oil drilling can even think of claiming that he has a strong environmental record is totally beyond me.

But his real faux pas was his failure to remember his Government’s actions in stripping all prisoners of their right to vote. Even though he spoke in Parliament in support of the bill that achieved this. With rather too much enthusiasm.

From Emma Hurley at Newshub:

Before his first appearance on Newshub Nation as National leader, Simon Bridges thought some prisoners could vote.

Mr Bridges was asked on Saturday by host Lisa Owen whether prisoners should be able to vote.

“It depends on the level. I think the answer that we came to in Government was under, is it two or three years? Yes. Where they’re in for really serious lags and really serious offences, no.”

Ms Owen told him in fact, at the moment no prisoners can vote, and asked if Mr Bridges was proposing a change.

“Well I thought that was the Bill we had put in place,” he replied.

Asked if he supported prisoners with sentences under three years being able to vote, he said: “Well no, I support the position we had. I thought I had that right.”

This tweet from Steffan Rusten captures the back down and change of position elegantly.


It is hard to understand how Bridges has not kept up with the issue. It was extremely contentious, and the Court of Appeal has ruled that the bill breached the rights of prisoners under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

Bridges’ principles appear to be very malleable and his memory poor. These are not good qualities for a nascent Prime Minister to have.

44 comments on “Simon Bridges’ not very good first week ”

  1. r0b 1

    Constitutional law expert Prof Andrew Geddis is scathing – quotes from Bridges’ speech on disenfranchising prisoners, which it seems he has now forgotten.

    https://twitter.com/acgeddis/status/969770239670894593 (and followup tweets)

    “The Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill is a worthy bill from a great citizen of New Zealand, Paul Quinn.”

    ” There is no reason why serving prisoners should have the right to vote. Those people have landed in the clink because they have done something serious.”

    “Labour members are soft on crime. They want criminals to vote.”

    “I think we are on the side of the angels here, and the Labour members are on the side of the criminals. “

  2. Tamati Tautuhi 2

    Liam Dann in the NZ Herald reckons Simon Bridges is irrelevant.

    So unless Labour and NZF screw it up big time over the next few years we should have another stable coalition Government formed after the 2020 Election ?

    Labour and NZF have to set the reset button on the NZ Economy it has been a gigantic F*&k Up over the past 30-40 years especially for an economy so rich in natural resources ?

    • Enough is Enough 2.1

      Their support of the treasonous TPP would suggest they are not going to be pressing any sort of reset button.

  3. Allan 3

    “Bridges’ principles appear to be very malleable and his memory poor.” Hmm who does that remind me of? Any suggestions?

    • Jess NZ 3.1

      Yeah, nah, exactly!

    • Unicus 3.2

      The shmuck blurted out that he was responsible for signing the ” Belt n Road ” protocol with the Chinese while Winston was on the other side of the interview desk detailing the new governments opposition to the damn thing .

      Good luck sunshine

  4. patricia bremner 4

    So Key’s understudy is carrying on the tradition of “I can’t remember”

    • RedBaronCV 4.1

      I think Bridges may be more genuine than Key on that front

      • Pat 4.1.1

        and far less plausible

      • red-blooded 4.1.2

        Yeah – this was a serious stuff-up, not an evasion of the question or cover up, which is what Key’s “don’t remember” claims almost always were. Key’s were unconvincing conveniences, this one was perfectly convincing and very inconvenient.

        • Hanswurst

          That’s simply not true. Even after many years of experience, Key was having to issue corrections in the house, and answering fairly basic questions with, “I don’t have that information on me”. He was certainly no better than Bridges when he started out.

  5. solkta 5

    He really is the perfect leadership partner for Paula Bennett. Remember when she said after the election that she thought she had a good relationship with the Greens and that they appreciated her work on climate change.

    Can’t easily find the exact quote or interview but paraphrased here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11927721
    She believed her personal relationship with the Greens was “great” and that they respected her work on climate change.

    Full of shit just doesn’t cover these two. They are in their own league.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    It’s camouflage – beneath the bumbling exterior lies a feeble administrator with vast troughing ambitions.

  7. Okay, I’ve spared a thought (a very brief one) for Simon Bridges.

    Now what? Am I supposed to feel sorry for the self-opinionated right-wing prick?

    Hell no! Nor for any of his ilk!


  8. UncookedSelachimorpha 8

    Hope Simon isn’t peaking too soon – we need his nasty streak to be in full view for 2020!

    • Dean Reynolds 8.1

      He won’t last that long

    • Tricledrown 8.2

      Being overtly critical of Bridge’s will make him change his public persona to be appealing to the 6% he needs to become PM National are looking to 5 1/2 years from now rounding off his rough edges.
      With punt on 2020 if things go pear shaped.for THE coalition.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.2.1

        Tricledrown makes good points here. Beware the well funded right wing machine

  9. Ad 9

    Hang in there Simon you’re just what the left needs.

  10. Macro 10

    Bridges’ principles appear to be very malleable and his memory poor. These are not good qualities for a nascent Prime Minister to have.

    Micky I beg to differ.
    They are quintessential for a National PM!
    I give as evidence John Key.

    • soddenleaf 10.1

      yeah. Bendy and Breaky, Nats b team, are the dregs left over from Key. Unlikely to win, bendy and Breaky are Maori eye candy, akin to Shipley. They know they’ll lose so they pander to otger than white old man. Just as Hooten veers off script, distancing from Nats spinclient too rebuild his brand as a authentic impartial commentator. so not.

      The Nats have a long way to go, they have to explain how paying teachers, nurses, midwives less and less, and proportionally raising their taxes compared to the 1%, was ever competent economics. Balanced tax grab.

      Labour got round its neolib past when the Greens imploded to create a vacuum for Ardern to appear. Bennett and Bridges, bendy and Breaky, ain’t going to last the distance.

  11. Tanz 11

    He has had a brilliant first week, has taken the eternal spotlight off the camera-mad Ardern. Go Simon. Awesome in the House also, much more fiery than English was. Also, may I add, Melissa Lee is doing an awesome job at Question Time, despite Mallard’s biased efforts!

    • ropata 11.1

      +1 Great parody comment

    • mike appleby 11.2

      meanwhile back in the real world…your Simon is making a little twat of himself

    • Drowsy M. Kram 11.3

      Are your fawning efforts ‘limited time only’ offers’?

      “Judith Collins is the only viable contender for me.” – Tanz

      Strong and decisive

    • AB 11.4

      Agree Tanz
      Simon has been great – he and Bill (but especially Simon) won the election and look how quickly he has got over the disappointment and outright betrayal of not being in government! Now he is firing on all cylinders attacking the coalition where it hurts most – their hopeless record over the last 9 years of crises in housing, precarious low-paid employment and inequality, infrastructure overload, out of control immigration, environmental degradation. It was Labour’s negativity in opposition that compromised the brighter future after all! Personally I am hanging on Simon’s every word and I haven’t seen a politician who gets their message across like him. The “great communicator” I call him and I can remember all the way back to Keith Holyoake. In fact I consider Simon to be our “Maori Holyoake” – 4 terms in government easily and such a breadth of vision!

      • Michelle 11.4.1

        More like 4 months and he will be gone AB.

        PS. how many polls will he survive lets see

      • Tanz 11.4.2

        I totally agree. Especially about English being betrayed, both by a flawed system and Winnie the Pooh. Along with the majority of voters! But yes, Simon is doing a great job, and English was fabulous in getting over such a huge betrayal and voter-given right. Simon is a great counter to the media frenzied Ardern, who so far, has achieved nothing but endless photoshoots, hand wringing and talks of conversations!! Absolutely useless in every way so far as a PM or serious govt!
        Go Simon, eat em for breakfast and play them hard at their own game. Rule out NZ First next election, the one thing English should have done! Mind you, at three percent, probably no longer an issue.

  12. Tanz 12

    If he gave a million dollars to the homeless, you would all still find fault, same with the complicit and Labour based MSM. Labour had the msm on side all through the election too, but the Nats still easily won the most votes! The public can see through the superhype.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 12.1

      IF only, but I agree that voters are seeing through the hype.


      I predict you’ll be trying to polish a new turd before the next general election.

      • Tanz 12.1.1

        The public will heartily be sick of Ardern constantly playing to the cameras as though she is some sort of film star. Read the comments on ZB’s or Stuff’s site’s yet? Going by many of them, they already are. Wait also, till the public are less than amused with three percent Winston in charge as PM, something pre-election she said she would not give him..ah, but pollies do not lie…

    • Wensleydale 12.2

      Labour were hammered by both Granny Herald and Fairfax all throughout the election. If it wasn’t for Joyce shooting National in both feet with his imaginary $11 billion dollar hole (among other things), and English being about as charismatic and interesting as a bucket of sick, things might have been very different.

    • tracey 12.3

      TANZ but but but Judith Collins

    • Michelle 12.4

      Still won the most votes I can’t believe some people are still harking on about this build a bridge oh that’s right you have bridge with a fork in it a forked tongue

    • You_Fool 12.5

      What happened to Nat winning a majority of the votes Tanz? I am disappointed in your lack of ability to keep your bullshit answers consistent

  13. rhinocrates 13

    Like a cushion, he always bore the impress of the last man who sat on him

    Lloyd George.

  14. Tuppence Shrewsbury 14

    So two scores from the media and none from the government? Who is in charge here?

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