Been away for a couple of weeks, did anything happen?
What a fortnight of news - and here’s what I’ve found refreshing about this time.
Firstly, Todd Muller was brave enough to make his mental health a priority, and to step away from a big high profile job at a critical time, in order to honour that. That’s a sea change for this country from where we were even five years ago, so steps have been taken around the stigma of mental health, and that’s a good thing.
I feel bad for him that he took on a job he clearly wasn’t ready for, or cut out for, but you have to give the guy kudos for acknowledging that and getting out of the snake pit. Politics is a toxic draining business, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Which brings me to Judith Collins. If you’re in any doubt about the steely resolve of this woman, you shouldn’t be by now.
What a refreshing change to see someone so passionately enjoying leadership; relishing it, not second-guessing herself, not being intimidated by the media pack, not pausing to have a working group with media experts about what to say next.
She just shoots from the hip; you know where you stand, and like her or not, that’s at least authentic.
I once referred to her on-air as a little bit scary. I didn’t for one second assume she’d have heard it, or care. But I was at a café later that day and who should roll up to my table announcing she’s 'not scary at all', but Judith Collins.
Full of confidence and enthusiasm, she continued to introduce herself to the kids, not remotely put off by criticism or throw away lines from media hacks like me. She tackles things head-on, takes nothing personally, and keeps going.
Those are admirable leadership qualities and ones that will stand her in good stead. It may well be part of the reason she’s survived so long.
Taking things personally is the great undoing of anyone with a public profile.
Jacinda Ardern, for all her positives, tends to get easily exercised by criticism. She can look like she’s taking things personally, and that’s the downfall of being a personality politician.
Judith is all business. Though she’s criticized for not being the smiling cheerleader waving kindness pompoms like Jacinda might be, she’s a decisive action woman who won’t suffer fools.
So, is the race on for September, or do we still have a cakewalk for the Labour party? I’d say the race is well and truly on.