OPINION: It's clear that Jami-Lee Ross did a little damage at National. Quite a lot is unclear.
Nevertheless, I doubt that anyone in the party club denied that his armor had been destroyed by a fiasco.
But assuming that nothing else will appear, the National seems ready to take part in lessons and follow-up. In most cases, the media were aware of the dangerous territory that he covered. The fact that Parliament is in the alcove provides additional breathing space for Simon Bridges, while the whole thing, he must hope, will continue to disappear.
Parliamentary holes are, of course, also a chance for government ministers to take the initiative and establish order with positive news. Announcements can be submitted in a time free of questions. It's a bit like a free hit on twenty20 cricket.
* Simon Bridges describes a colleague of MP as "useless" in a recorded conversation
* Ardern remains irreplaceable for the image of the Labor Party
* "Enter" – the government announces the decision to re-enter the Pike River mine
National leader Simon Bridges discusses the potential apologies to the Crown for Pike River families.
During the last national government, for example, there was an expectation that something significant would be announced at least every other day during the break. At least. It was something that the ministerial adviser built.
Interestingly, this is not something that the Ardern ministry could reproduce.
Probably the biggest news from last week was Andrew Little, confirming that the government will continue its plans to re-enter the Pike mine, which was sealed following this terrible explosion in 2010. All things are the same, it looks like it will restart again in February.
This confirmation will, of course, be satisfactory for many families of deceased miners. And confirms the long-standing commitment to re-enter the Labor Party.
New details have also been announced in connection with the Royal Investigation Commission on the historical use of children. His competences have been extended to include religious institutions, and the committee has been changed accordingly. The timing of the investigation, which seems to be the most expensive in our history, has been extended to reflect this wider mandate.
Nevertheless, the point at which announcements of developments in reviews, reports and consultations could be advertised as political achievements for this government is well in the rear-view mirror.
Reviewing the government's announcements, it looks like he has joined the international biodiversity declaration, agreed on a shared commitment with Australia to increase cyber security in the Pacific, and determined farmers are increasingly making use of the National Animal Identification and Tracking Program. Of course, all very good and valuable things. However, none of them is a kind of thing that penetrates public consciousness or puts the opposition in a state of equilibrium.
On the first anniversary of the Ardern Ministry, I conducted a radio interview on his achievements so far. One of the things I had to admit was to achieve internal stability. Many people have predicted that the Labor Party – NZ First – Greens will fall apart. But although there have been some fluctuations from time to time, the arrangements look quite solid.
Of course, because of their stability, rocks are not agile. If the coalition managed to overcome internal contradictions, deciding to concentrate on reviews and international meetings, then it will present rather the slow goal of the Opposition.
National has several natural advantages over this government in the MMP environment. However, one of the most friendly windmills is that if we do not count ACT, which seems to be few people nowadays, this is really the only voice of opposition.
This gives a lot of freedom in developing an alternative program, while the government is burdened by the need for a tripartite agreement on everything that is essential.
Politics alone rarely wins elections – and rightly so. However, if you intend to face a popular leader and head of the first-term government, then the right alternative vision is essential. The country must identify a program that is simple, responsibly populist and, ideally, something that the government parties can not reliably attempt to repeat.
Seeing that the government has limited ability to do much more than it already does, the temptation for National may be to try to steal it now. This can be a mistake.
The next election is still almost two years ago, and their alternative vision is one of the few things that they can control, National should not hurry up as it creates it. The uncoordinated nature of the ruling three will not change in the near future.
In the meantime, there is one more thing that the country controls: internal discipline. Recent problems seem to be ineffective. MEPs would be wise to ensure that the party will not be checked again.
Liam Hehir is a lawyer and political columnist based in Manawatū.