After the announcement Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller had succeeded Simon Bridges as the leader of the opposition, with Nikki Kaye elevated as his deputy, the Times sought comment from Local MP’s Jami-Lee Ross and Simeon Brown.
Mr Brown said “With the new leadership of Todd and Nikki National is raring to go as we ask New Zealanders to trust that our team and our plan are the best options to get the country through these dark and difficult times.”
He then added “I want to thank Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett for their stewardship over our Party these last couple of years.”
“They say that Leader of the Opposition is the toughest job in politics, particularly when you’re up against a first-term government, and Simon and Paula deserve an immense amount of gratitude for their service to both National and New Zealand. I am privileged to have started my own political career under their leadership and guidance” said Brown.
Mr Ross said “National supporters and members have wanted a new leader for 18 months. They finally get their wish.
“There will no longer be a need for National voters to dream about the day of someone new taking over.
“They have in Todd Muller the successful business leader fresh out of the John Key mould.
“But, as the party sings the song of unity in public, but it will still be a rollercoaster ride through to the Election.
“A move from Government to Opposition always sees parties rip themselves apart before they are ready to govern again.
“New Zealanders looking for vision and hope will struggle to see that projected from National for a while.
“A vote for National is still a vote for a party that will sit in the opposition.” A relative unknown in public circles, Ross believes he “will likely need until 2023 before he is really ready.”
“This election will see a lot of strategic voting as New Zealanders decide to vote for people and parties they believe can achieve wins for them.
“Voters usually struggle to see the logic in voting for candidates from parties that they know will sit in opposition unable to fulfill election promises.
“That will be the challenge for every National candidate across the country.”
The National candidate for Botany, Chris Luxon was also approached and he offered “A big congratulations to Todd Muller on his selection as Leader of the National Party.”
Luxon added, “I’ve known Todd for some time and he is thoughtful, intelligent, and cares deeply about our party and country. He will be an outstanding leader and I look forward to campaigning with him.”