Showdown: Nats consider emergency caucus meeting

Simon Bridges (left) appears intent on flushing out a leadership challenge from Todd Muller ...
Simon Bridges (left) appears intent on flushing out a leadership challenge from Todd Muller (middle) and Nikki Kaye(right). Photo: RNZ
National is considering holding an emergency caucus meeting on Friday to resolve the leadership issue, despite no confirmation from National's Todd Muller that he intends to challenge Simon Bridges.

Bridges said this morning that he was being challenged for the leadership after the  New Zealand Herald reported yesterday that a no-confidence vote would be mounted against him at the party's next regular caucus meeting on Tuesday.

It is understood Bridges is keen to put the matter to rest before the end of the week, and consideration is being given to mustering MPs for an emergency caucus meeting on Friday rather than waiting until Tuesday when MPs return to Parliament.

Bridges was referring to MP Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye, who would likely stand as Muller's deputy leader.

As yet, there has been no comment from Muller or Kaye, but other MPs are now starting to talk about the issue.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declined to comment on the apparent coup attempt.

She said her focus was on running the Government and, given her experience in opposition, it was her policy to not comment on a rival party.

"I'm focused on jobs and employment," she told reporters this afternoon.

National MP Sarah Dowie, who will not be standing for re-election at September's election, said she supported Bridges and the leadership challenge was a distraction for the party.

"This is typically not the way we behave."

Dowie said Bridges did the right thing by throwing down the gauntlet to any MPs looking to challenge him for the leadership to come forward.

"If they have an issue with leadership, they need to be upfront, or speak up in caucus."

Brett Hudson was also in support of Bridges, who he said was the "right leader for National at this time".

National should be focused on New Zealand, and New Zealanders at this time, he said.

"I can't think there would be a single New Zealander that thinks we should be focused on ourselves rather than them."

Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe said he would not throw his support behind anyone until he knows there will for sure be a challenge.

"You wouldn't bet on a house without knowing the other horses in the field," he said.

If there was a challenge, Macindoe would be voting for someone who was going to present the "best option for a strong National campaign".

Judith Collins has ruled out challenging Bridges, and said she has no intention of contesting the leadership. Mark Mitchell has also said he is backing Bridges and will not challenge him.

However, Mitchell could contest it if the position was open.

Comments

Mueller has proved how stupid he is with this. NO ONE would.do what he's doing and expect to win.

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