Some days in this place you can only sit back and watch as a large number of normally rational, intelligent people collectively lose their senses and embark on an ordeal of self-humiliation that leaves you gasping. March 21, 2013 was like that, when Simon Crean blew the Labor leadership wide open by calling on Kevin Rudd to move to replace Julia Gillard and Rudd bottled it, leading to an exodus of his supporters from cabinet.

Yesterday was just as bad. Clearly the government needed a distraction from Barnaby Joyce's monumental citizenship stuff-up -- which is his fault entirely -- but the idea of the Great Aotearoa Conspiracy should have never have made it onto the whiteboard, let alone off it and into action. Whoever suggested it should have been quietly told to take some time off as, clearly, they were working too hard. By the time Julie Bishop -- who has now shredded whatever belief there was that she represented a "safe pair of hands" if the party decided to remove Turnbull -- had finished, she had not merely interfered in New Zealand domestic politics but in effect called the NZ Interior Minister a liar for pointing out that it was media inquiries that sparked the New Zealand government's interest in Barnaby Joyce, not any questions by New Zealand Labour.