11 Aug 2020

National Party to address Roger Bridge allegations 'soon'

7:09 pm on 11 August 2020

The National Party board will meet "as soon as possible" to discuss allegations surrounding its member Roger Bridge and a late-night call on talkback radio.

National Party president Peter Goodfellow

National president Peter Goodfellow. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Newshub yesterday reported Bridge had been accused of calling NewstalkZB using an alias "Merv" in an attempt to undermine a National candidate for the Auckland Central seat.

That candidate - Nuwanthie Samarakone​ - was unsuccessful in her bid to become the electorate's candidate, with party members picking Emma Mellow instead.

Bridge has not responded to RNZ's calls, but denied he was the caller when questioned by Newshub outside Parliament.

In a statement, National president Peter Goodfellow said the board was aware of the allegations.

"The board will be meeting together as soon as possible so it can consider the matter."

National leader Judith Collins told RNZ she understood the board was meeting on Tuesday.

"I do not approve of this behaviour. It is not something I would do. I do not approve of it. It is now a matter for the board."

Collins said she had not spoken to Bridge and would reserve any further comments for the board.

"It is very important that I am being utterly focused on policy and the people of New Zealand," she said.

"Outside the media, absolutely nobody cares about the internal workings of the National Party."

Bridge is also the chairperson of the party's Canterbury Westland region.

Speaking to RNZ earlier, National's Christchurch Central candidate Dale Stephens offered support to Bridge, describing him as "one of the most honourable men" he had met.

"[The allegations] didn't make sense as Roger looks after the South Island," Stephens said.

The Auckland Central seat became available after former National deputy Nikki Kaye announced last month she would retire from politics at the election.