by Tim Watkin

You don't have to believe the conspiracy theories to see that Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf is in serious trouble. A new inquiry will have to uncover something yet unknown to excuse the three strikes he committed last week

National leader Simon Bridges laid it on pretty think last week when he did his big reveal and showed that the supposed 'hack' of the Treasury website and early release of some Budget information nothing more than some Google searches and good luck.

Whether Coalition New Zealand is a Christian party or not (the Tamakis themselves are divided), the idea that they, the New Conservatives, an Alfred Ngaro-led vehicle or any religious party can get into parliament does not stand scrutiny

Three Christians walk into a bar. A Catholic, a Presbyterian and a Life Church member... None of them vote for the same party. No, it's not much of a punch line, I confess. But then the idea of a Christian Party isn't much of an idea.

Big benefit increases and cutting sanctions have been recommended by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, yet the Labour-led government has rejected the groups call for urgency. So is it running out of ways to be transformational this term?

Strike one: Capital Gains Tax. Strike Two: Welfare reform. The Labour-led government is running out of changes to be the "transformational" administration Jacinda Ardern promised in the 2017 election campaign.

It's not slushies or Judith Collins doing for Simon Bridges. The fact is that he was the longest of long shots when he took the reins and events tell us he'd need a miracle from here

The questions are being asked. Is Simon Bridges coming to the end of his run as National's leader? Is he going to be forced to walk the plank? The answer of course, is yes. Because it has always been yes. But it's unlikely to be imminent.

A humiliating defeat for Jacinda Ardern and Labour on the Capital Gains Tax is a reminder of how political power works and where the struggle for that power – and next year's election – really lies. Peters has swung the tax axe, with impunity

If not now, when? If not this, what? If not her, who? Those are the questions that must be bedeviling Labour and Green Party supporters as Winston Peters has not for the first, second or even third time, put his stamp of authority on this supposedly Labour-led government.

When something wicked this way comes, what do you do? I hope in time we can make space for study and understanding. Let's find the courage to look at where the hate came from and counter it with facts and truth as well as compassion.

One of the most powerful of the many powerful stories coming out of Christchurch in the past week, is that of 71 year-old Haji-Daoud Nabi, who greeted the gunman at the door of the mosque with a warm, "Hello brother...". Nabi was the first to die.

As we start to wrestle with the pain and lessons of this heart-rending act of terror in Christchurch, let us not fall into the trap of being driven by fear and ignorance. Because that's how this all began

As we wake up the day after 49 people were murdered at two mosques in Christchurch, it's to a flurry of comments about how New Zealand will never be the same, has lost its innocence and is no longer beyond the reach of the world's evil.

Look at those Greens, trying to stack the deck to ensure they cling to power, eh? Except that argument makes little sense and stops us having a proper squiz at how we should run the country

Politics is an odd kind of game that sometimes requires a ruthless self-interest and at others altruistic self-sacrifice. It's a patchwork of ideals and deals, virtue and vice, gamble and calculation.

The spadework has been done and the Labour-led government now has to decide whether it can afford to walk through the door labelled 'Capital Gaints Tax'... and they need to know who will follow

And so now, as was always inevitable, it comes down to political courage. Has Jacinda Ardern and her coaltion got the will and the numbers to introduce a proper capital gains tax?

I'm shocked I tell you. Shocked... Shocked that anyone would be surprised by tonight's Newshub-Reid Research poll. The seasons of politics are turning as expected. The complicating factor is Judith Collins.

The headlines cry crisis for National and Simon Bridges. The latest Newshub Reid Research poll has landed a series of blows on Bridges and his party – National is down, Bridges is down and Collins is up. Wham, bam and thank you Ma'am.