Duncan Garner: Jacinda Ardern needs to step up and take control of her Government

OPINION: Winston Peters is a political leopard that can't, won't and will never change his spots.

Just when you think no, no I'm wrong, let's give him a chance he fires off a short, aggressive missive which is closely followed by another ridicule.

I think he's a bully.

He's a short-tempered deputy Prime Minister who should be much happier than he is because he is in Government despite most of New Zealand flipping him the bird at the last election. 

Yet these last few weeks show a coalition partner that looks rattled. Maybe it's their internal polling. Maybe it's Winston's recovery from his secret rugby injury. Maybe he feels Shane Jones is overpowering him and taking the limelight with his mix of aloof intellectualism and insults to farmers. 

Whatever it is, Jones is trying to be the regional hard man in a singlet with a dad bod, looking for a punch line that works, but it's not working

So what happened? Firstly Jones insults farmers in a mystifyingly odd performance unbecoming of a minister. Then it was poor and uncouth of Peters to attack the Newshub reporter Anna Bracewell Worrall as "psycho". 

And this is far from the first offence for both men. 

If the Prime Minister had any guts she'd confront Winston and Jones and say, "Oi mate, pull your heads in. It's not acceptable," but that would be a Prime Minister in charge of a Government and acting strongly - so that will not happen.

Both Shane and Winston are their own men. Winston is Shane's boss and Winston doesn't have a boss, clearly. 

Ardern says "it's not the language she would use".

 But that doesn't wash anymore. She needs to be much stronger.

 Duncan Garner is a host of The AM Show.