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Scoop Column - What Makes A Government Stumble?

When physicists started making their first inroads into quantum mechanics they discovered the act of observation changed the behaviour of the observed.

The National Government seems to be suffering from the same phenomenon at present. Every political columnist in the country seems to have now done a stock piece listing a series of gaffs and stumbles.

It sometimes has the feel that the act of observing Ministers is almost creating the domino effect of tumbling crisis. That certainly is the view of many in the Government and there are some who are now openly attacking the media as openly pro-Labour and anti-National with the NZ Herald regarded as chief amongst the 'sinners'.

While their may be tiny smidgen of truth to the argument that the media do turn on long serving governments simply because they are such an easy target, it doesn't stand up to much scrutiny as it rests on the presumption that the series of gaffes and bungles are just a matter of appearance and not with substance.

Attacking the media is a particularly fruitless exercise and a sign of the frustration that the Government is feeling. The muttering of nervous backbenchers about the management skills of Cabinet only reinforces the self-fulfilling prophecies of those feeling the doom and gloom that they see the ever-nearing election bringing.

Wiser heads in Cabinet are preaching calm and plan on working their way through to an election campaign where National can try and set the agenda. For now though there is just the weeks ahead of sorting through the political messes and trying to find the positives. Spring looks a very long time away at present.

For the week ahead, the Order paper remains packed with nuts and bolt legislation. Presently at the top of the paper are:

Auckland Domain (Temporary Closure for APEC) Bill, Committee stages

Broadcasting Amendment Bill (No. 2), 177-2 Hon. Maurice Williamson, Consideration of report (Commerce

Judicature (Rules Committee and Technical Advisers) Amendment Bill, Consideration of report.

Wednesday will see an evening of Members Bills, Scoop will take a look at what is on offer tomorrow morning.

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