Politics | Simon Bridges

Simon Bridges bows out of politics

As he bids farewell after 14 years as an MP, Parliaments "nearly" man, former National leader Simon Bridges has reflected on his time.

He steps away after tonight to spend more time with his family and to pursue commercial interests in Auckland. Three years ago he was headed in the right direction to occupy the ninth floor of the Beehive, before Covid-19 struck.

"I would dearly have loved the privilege of being prime minister of New Zealand. When I look back we were polling higher than Labour pre-Covid with the potential to govern but life goes on, even the bad things," he told

He lost the leadership shortly before the 2020 election to Judith Collins, and eventually found his way back in favour with current leader Christopher Luxon, becoming the shadow spokesperson for finance just before announcing his retirement as the MP for Tauranga, a seat he has held since 2008.

"It would have been a great privilege to be finance minister in the next government. In the end, I'm 45 and I felt like I made a good contribution and I think politicians can be obsessed with this place, thinking everything is about here."

Before stepping away from public life, he has some words of encouragement to share with Māori.

"The things that I did that were the riskiest were generally the best.  So if you're a Māori business, a startup, believe in yourself, back yourself, take some risks - you'll be fine."

However, he also had a parting word of advice for his party as it regains lost ground in the polls.

"I might become an ACT voter especially if my guys are too soft on things."