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March 5, 2018 | by  | in Politics |
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National Party Leadership Announced

The National Party Caucus has elected Simon Bridges as leader of the National Party, announced Tuesday 27 February.

Bridges was confirmed as the new National leader after two ballot votes were held. Protocol for the selection of leadership in the National Party dictates that if no outright majority emerges after the first round of the voting, the two lowest scoring MPs then drop out, and another round of voting is held.

He will be first Māori leader of the National party, with Paula Bennett, who is also of Māori descent, confirmed to stay on as deputy leader.

In his first speech to media as the new National Party leader, Bridges said he looks forward to engaging with Māori.

“I hope Māori who have traditionally been with New Zealand First, and at times with Labour, will give us a second look, will think about us and what we mean, and the opportunities that we present for Māori.”

Bridges also signalled that National would be placing a greater emphasis on the environment but abstained from discussing specific policy in this area. He did however indicate interest in the potential of working with the Green Party in the future.

In his leadership announcement Bridges emphasised the need to modernise the National party by bringing in new talent. He touched on the “reshuffling” planned for National, and his vision for the future of the party being “generational change”.

National is yet to confirm any specific shadow cabinet roles, but confirmed the other leadership candidates would be offered key positions.

“We will […] be an alternative government in waiting, with a clear and positive plan for the 2020s.”

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