26 Nov 2021

Collins and Bridges should both consider leaving Parliament - Finlayson

From Morning Report, 7:12 am on 26 November 2021

Former National Party MP Chris Finlayson says the drama in the party over past few years has been extremely damaging and both Judith Collins and Simon Bridges should consider leaving parliament.

National MPs will elect the party's fifth leader in four years next Tuesday, after a vote of no confidence went against Judith Collins on Thursday.

The implosion comes after a late Wednesday night press release from Collins, where she accused MP and former leader Simon Bridges of " serious misconduct" at a party event in Premier House five years ago.

Bridges said this was "truly desperate stuff" from Collins who would go to any length to hold on to her leadership.

She was forced to step down after her caucus issued a motion of no confidence in her.

Finlayson, who was in Parliament from 2008 until 2017 and held roles including Attorney General and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, told Morning Report he would be happy to give those involved in yesterday's events some advice.

"I hope is that a couple of the players may use the summer period to consider whether or not their future is in politics, and whether they should perhaps go back to the law and I'll be very happy to provide career advice."

Specifically mentioning Collins and Bridges, Finlayson said they should consider whether it was time to leave politics.

"There comes a time when people need to consider, it happened to me, whether or not their contribution to politics is complete, and whether there are other avenues that they could pursue.

"Maybe Simon and Judith need to reflect on the events of the last 18 months and consider whether or not they should perhaps move on for the good of the party."

He said recent events were unfortunate as they don't allow some of the party's newer MPs the chance to perform.

"It's prevented some of the young starters from really starting to shine. There are some very good people in the party, people like Joseph Mooney. who's one to watch in Southland, Nicola Grigg, Penny Simmonds of course, in Invercargill, who's very, very competent person. Then you've got people like Andrew Bayly, who's a real original thinker, Shane Reti, who I recall did some fantastic work on medicinal cannabis.

"I'd like to see some of these new ones shine a little bit more, because I think they've got a real contribution to make, the sort of contribution that people out there are wanting to hear from the National Party, they are sick of psychodramas, they just want to get on with it."

He could not pick who would replace Collins as leader and said that would be up to the party's caucus to decide.