Bridges' credibility “badly wounded” – Peter Dunne

By Talisa Kupenga

Political commentator Peter Dunne says National's Simon Bridges' leadership is "badly wounded" but whether he stays or goes is too early to tell.

This follows a new leak about Bridges' expenses leak inquiry and his reference to a colleague’s health issues as potentially "embarrassing".

It's been a tough week in politics for Bridges.

Former United Future Leader Dunne says, "I don't think it destroys his leadership it's certainly a big hit to his credibility the way the events this week have unfolded he's now got to really knuckle down and recover."

And the public is judging his hold on power.

A Wellington local told Te Kāea, "Bridges is clearly performing really badly at the moment."

Totoa Tinielu says, "it’s very likely he will lose his leadership before the next election."

Mae Kohu says "I don't think his caucus have much confidence in him."

The criticism comes amidst a new leak concerning Bridges' expenses leak inquiry, and his characterisation of colleague Jami-Lee Ross' health issues which led Ross to take medical leave.

Dunne says, "He started out saying the right things about Jami-Lee Ross, you know, concern for someone's situation, give them space all those sorts of things but when he started veering off into talking about how embarrassing it was for Jami-Lee.  He just lost if I'm afraid."

Bridges has criticised Jacinda Ardern's leadership as 'weak' and her government as dysfunctional, but now Bridges' own leadership is under fire.

Dunne says, "People have been asking questions this week about his reliability in a crisis because this is a crisis for the National Party of his own manufacture, but to get the words wrong and say 'I didn't mean to say this, I meant to say something else' is not a good look."

The investigation into Bridges' expenses leak is expected to wrap up next week, whether this means a wrap for Bridges as National's leader remains to be seen.