Bridges: 'It's been a heck of a ride'

Former National leader Simon Bridges speaks to media while Paula Bennett (L) and wife Natalie...
Former National leader Simon Bridges speaks to media while Paula Bennett (L) and wife Natalie look on during a press conference at Parliament in Wellington today. Photo: Getty
National's ousted leader Simon Bridges gave an emotional speech this afternoon, saying he was looking forward to spending more time with his family.

Caucus today went with the unknown candidate of Todd Muller over incumbent Bridges, and Auckland MP Nikki Kaye has been elected Muller's deputy, replacing Paula Bennett.

Bridges thanked his staff and said they were "loyal to the end".

He thanked Bennett too.

"It's been a heck of a ride," he said.

He said it's been a roller coaster where the highs were highs, and the lows were lows.

He acknowledged a few issues National had while he was in charge, such as Jami-Lee Ross, but did not mention him by name.

On the highs, he cited the capital gains back down and quarantining at the border during Covid-19

He said it was "my privilege" to lead National and that it had been a blast.

He said his leadership has taken a toll on his family and he said he was looking forward to spending more time being a "better dad," and a "better husband."

Bridges got emotional when he was talking about his kids.

He said he had not been the best dad over the past two or so years.

He would not go into detail about his future plans - "I'm taking stock", he said a number of times.

He said New Zealand needs a National-led Government going forward.

"I want to see National win," he said, when asked if he could work under Muller.

He said he was "disappointed" at today's result, but he also said he was a bit relieved.



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