28 Apr 2020

Simon Bridges adamant his leadership is not under threat

9:51 pm on 28 April 2020

National's Simon Bridges says he's confident he'll still be party leader come election time.

National leader Simon Bridges speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament on April 09, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

No National MP raised the party leadership issue at its latest caucus meeting, Simon Bridges says. Photo: Pool / Getty Images

He's dismissed any questions over his leadership saying it's a distraction when the country should be focusing on how to rebuild the economy.

Agitation over the leadership was reignited last week with many MPs unhappy about the tone of his response to the news the lockdown would be extended.

MPs held a brief phone conference in lieu of the regular caucus meeting this morning. Bridges said "not a person" raised his leadership, or any concerns about how he had fronted National's response.

And he regretted nothing, telling reporters he "would say and do the same things today" because it was important New Zealand flatten the curve, not "flatten the economy".

"Right now there are tens of thousands of businesses who are frustrated, who feel that no-one's got their corner," Bridges said.

MPs have also told RNZ they haven't seen any detailed internal polling for some time, which he refused to get into.

"We talk about polling periodically," he said, "but I'm not going to discuss internal matters like that with the media."

Questions about the leak of a letter to him from senior MP Nick Smith expressing disappointment about how the party will manage Covid-19-related policy, were also dismissed by Bridges.

"That's the way it goes, we've been here before...what it shows is National is working on our recovery plans for New Zealand."

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