The Leadership gamble did not work for Simon Bridges

Venkat Raman
Auckland, May 22, 2020

Todd Muller and Simon Bridges (RNZ/Getty Images)

Simon Bridges forced his hand, summoning the members of his Caucus to Wellington today- rather than on Tuesday (May 26, 2020), the usual meeting day.

He lost the gamble. National MPs voted in favour of Todd Muller as their new Leader.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, who was Minister of Education in the John Key cabinet has been named Deputy Leader of the Party.

Mr Bridges paid a heavy price on at least two counts- the first, as we said, playing a big gamble.

Second and more important was his style of functioning.

Overplayed role

He clearly overplayed his role as the Leader of the Opposition in his overaction to the various relief measure of the government during the Covid-19 Lockdown Alert Levels 4 and 3.

In criticising every move of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, he misjudged the mood of the Nation.

The result has had a telling impact on his political fortunes.

His Party and his own popularity went deep South in two successive opinion polls this week.

He is yet to announce his future plans, but we will miss him.

Simon Bridges with his wife Natalie (right) and Deputy Leader Paula Bennett (RNZ Picture by Dom Thomas)

Mr Bridges has been a friend since long. He is a good man, and his hard work and love for the people have been beyond reproach.

Mr Muller was quick to learn that in politics, saying the right things matter.

Inclusive politics

Soon after his election, he termed his Party as a ‘coalition of city and country, business and community, conservatives and liberals.

“National is the Party of all New Zealanders. There is no Team Todd, there is no Team Nikki or anyone else. There is only Team National,” he said.

Mr Muller said that his Party carries the experience and management skills to take New Zealand from what he termed, “the worst crisis since Second World War.”

“My focus as Leader is our country’s economic recovery and strengthening of every community throughout New Zealand,” he said.

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