Politics | Leadership

Ngāti Maniapoto's Simon Bridges rules out National leadership run

Former National leader Simon Bridges has ruled out any future plans to lead his party. 
National members had one-on-one meetings with leader Judith Collins today but, when asked if he could rule out any tout for leadership, Bridges quickly answered "yes .... never again". He also extinguished the idea of assuming the deputy role. "I enjoy the local role I've got. I feel privileged to still be an MP. I feel like I've got a lot to give but it's not as the leader of the National Party."

Bridges lost the National Party leadership to Todd Muller in May amid the Covid-19 crisis but Muller resigned just weeks into the role. Since then the party has undergone a major shakeup, losing 21 members in the fallout of the failed election campaign, including fellow Māori Jo Hayes, Dan Bidois and Cook Island descended Alfred Ngaro.

Asked who the voice for Māori would be in National, Bridges replied, "The reality is, there's two or three of us and I don't take that lightly. You know, it's really important for the National Party, having suffered a tough result, we're not as representative of the way New Zealand looks as we have been. ... we need to make sure the people in the caucus are connected to the tangata whenua but also I will make the point with other groups around New Zealand that aren't as represented as they were in the caucus at least, but will be in the wider party."

Whangārei's Dr Shane Reti is hanging in by a thread counting on a boost in special votes to secure his seat in Parliament.