And then there were two.
Simon Bridges, famous for announcing ten bridges during the campaign period for the Northland by election, none of which were subsequently built, has announced that he will also be seeking the National Party leadership.
He is still the front runner. English’s announcement yesterday has the feel of someone finally getting the numbers together. But Bridges’ announcement has a sense of being rushed and it may be that Collins has made him announce earlier than he had intended.
From Radio New Zealand:
Simon Bridges confirmed his own intention to run at a media conference at 11am.
He said some of his colleagues had asked him to run, but would not name names, saying it was “only natural”.
“We do need to renew and refresh.”
He said he had the highest regard for other contenders, who were all capable, and it would “absolutely” be a clean contest.
“I am focusing on Simon Bridges”, he said.
He said the next leader needed to be both a good opposition leader and an alternative Prime Minister.
While he could not say if he had the numbers to take the leadership, he felt he had a lot of support. He also said he could work with current deputy leader Paula Bennett.
Mr Bridges said he had some ideas for policy changes, but would not go into details today. There would be a focus on evolving the party and moving with the times to push for a National government in 2020.
He said he represented a generational change, which was even more important today with Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister.
He agreed with Judith Collins that the Labour government was guilty of “virtue signalling”.
Asked about his biggest weakness he said he was in danger of being a bit earnest.”
I would say that it is round one to Judith.