mickeysavage suggests that Nick Smith was "shot by friendly fire"
I'm not convinced, for reasons I will explain.
Essentially the two events are, in a sense, independent. Without the email breach of privacy, the letters written by Dr Smith were still in breach of the Cabinet Manual and were grounds for resignation. The email breach of privacy was the method by which the breach of the Cabinet Manual came to light, however the emails breach of privacy could (and probably would) have occurred, even in the absence of the letters from Dr Smith. Ultimately, Dr Smith was forced to resign his ministerial portfolios due to his own shortcomings, not shot by friendly fire.
And this leads to the interesting bits.
While they appear to be homogeneous from the outside, the National Party are as fractured and factionalised as any other big political party. It has been suggested that Judith Collins won't particularly care that Nick Smith became collateral damage. It has been further suggested that Mrs Collins holds leadership ambitions. Friends come and go, enemies accumulate. And while National are trying desperately to present a united front, the finger-pointing behind the scenes must be phenomenal. I'd suggest that Mrs Collins does care, in the way that the self-absorbed individualistic ideology supported by National requires. If John Key does manage to plaster over the cracks and holes, and prevent an acute crisis in his government (and I'd not be surprised if he did manage) the repercussions will echo around the party for years. This is a chronic problem for National.
iPredict, a grubby sandbox with a shiny cover that I avoid like the plague (and find Trevor Mallard's slavish following of it bemusing), has raised its odds on another minister departing before the end of the year. Question time had Mrs Collins in a tight spot again today. It has been suggested, around the blogs, that there may be some wiggle room in the answers. There is none. John Key hesitated over Nick Smith, and came under some intense scrutiny as a result. He can't afford to do so if Mrs Collins is found to have been less than truthful about the leaking of Ms Pullar's identity, or they will both suffer the same fate. And all that that brings.