Regional | Dr Shane Reti

Reti interim leader as Collins rolled; Luxon v Mitchell Tuesday duel

A wounded National party has called on their doctor to help heal their wounds. National deputy leader Dr. Shane Reti is acting as interim leader as the National caucus reshuffles its leadership. Reti is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hine and Ngāti Kura descent.

"The caucus moved a motion for a vote of no confidence in the leader [Judith Collins], and that motion was successful," Reti told a press conference this afternoon.

He said, "This is not our best day."

The leadership contest is expected to be held next week on Tuesday.

"On behalf of the caucus, I would like to thank Judith Collins for her valuable service to the party."

National has been bleeding leaders for a number of years and 16 months in the leadership is the latest casualty.

Collins was rolled quickly by her caucus this morning after a decision she made yesterday to sack former leader Simon Bridges from his portfolio backfired. The caucus was blindsided by Collins stripping Bridges of his portfolios and the allegation of a serious sexual comment made towards a caucus colleague five years ago.

Collins had stripped Bridges of his portfolios last night after allegations of sexual-related comments made five years ago by Bridges to fellow MP Jacqui Dean.

Bridges apologised for the comments at the time. However, the NZ Herald reports Collins had only heard about the incident for the first time this week and was backed unanimously by the National board to demote Bridges.

However, Bridges vowed to fight the demotion and the urgent caucus began today.

Media are now reporting that newbie MP Christopher Luxon, a former high-flyer businessman has put his hand up, as has Mark Mitchell, a former police officer, who later founded a company specialising in hostage rescue, supply chain security, and risk management. Like Luxon, he has held global executive roles. Both MPs are part of the conservative Christian part of the caucus. Whichever wins will be the fifth leader in four years, more than matching the wild Labour leadership spills of earlier years.

The latest polls showed she was slipping in popularity, both Luxon and Bridges gaining ground on her but in warlike fashion, it seems Collins has fallen on her sword and taken Bridges with her.

Newshub is reporting that Nicola Willis will stand for the deputy leadership with Luxon.

Earlier reports suggested Christ Bishop would also stand.

The conundrum for National Collins' popularity was never going to be enough to win back National's middle New Zealand voters, and a leadership takeover was always just a caucus meeting away.
The Blue Team finally getting a much-needed facelift.

Judith Collins, affectionately known as Crusher, took over as leader after Todd Muller stepped down quickly with health issues after rolling Simon Bridges was rolled. Bridges had earlier rolled Bill English, who then retired from Parliament. Collins was first elected as an MP at the 2002 election. She has been a National cabinet minister several times though was removed once by John Key before later being restored.

The question a lot of Māori may want to know is if the Ngāpuhi doctor can keep the party alive for the next 5 days.