This leak inquiry feels like one of those “choose your own adventure novels” with all paths leading to headaches for Simon Bridges.
There are multiple ways this could play out:
1. The inquiry finds the leaker is an MP. That MP is named and shamed and pushed out by the party. Depending on who it is this could cause a by-election.
2. The inquiry finds the leaker is an MP and National keeps it under wraps.
3. The inquiry identifies a staff member as the leaker and that person is dealt with by the party.
4. Or the inquiry can’t find enough evidence to identify the leaker and they stay working in the corridors of power.
None of these are good options for Simon Bridges.
This has got to be frustrating for National because this story is hanging over them like a dark cloud. There is a possibility that the person who leaked the information is still beavering away at work and still privy to important information.
Until the investigation is finished National will have to play its cards close to its chest, not releasing information too widely and that’s tough for any work environment.
You have to be able to trust your own.
It’s not like there isn’t a lot of political fodder for National to capitalise on at the moment but they have to get this out of the way first.
The investigation is being done by PricewaterhouseCoopers. It was due back next Friday, while the MPs are away from Parliament in their electorates.
Now there could be a delay for another week.
That’s because it took longer than expected to get the information from Parliamentary Services for staff to release their information.
MPs sign a waiver, so that’s easy. But it was more time consuming for staff. So it could drag on for another week.
The other question is will the public get to see this report?
Simon Bridges: “We want to be as open and transparent as we possibly can so we anticipate making the report public.”
It’s worth noting that leak investigations have become very fashionable of late. Labour has launched one of it’s own over the Meka Whaitiri leak. What ever happened to the good old fashioned political leak?
Let’s see which adventurous path we’re lead down and how the story ends.