Luxon new National Party leader, Willis selected as deputy

Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis. Photo: ODT
Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis. Photo: ODT
Christopher Luxon is the new leader of the National Party after Simon Bridges pulled out of the leadership race.

Bridges confirmed the move on Twitter and said he'd met with Luxon this morning and had a "great discussion".

"I am withdrawing from the leadership contest and will be backing Chris. He will make a brilliant National leader and Prime Minister," Bridges said.

Bridges was the only serious contender for the role, and while caucus will still meet at 3pm for the election Luxon is now certain to get the job uncontested.

Caucus will also elect a deputy - Luxon's preference was understood to be Nicola Willis but it is possible that has changed after his talks with Bridges. It is likely Bridges will be given the finance portfolio.

It is a big move for Luxon, who has only been in Parliament for a year, after he won in the Botany electorate.

The former CEO of Air NZ has long been touted as a future leader and is a close friend of former PM John Key.

Key has been urging others to support Luxon, believing he was the party's best chance of rallying after a turbulent few years.

MPs arriving at Parliament were staying quiet about their own choices, but urged unity.

Nicola Willis would not comment on whether she expected to put her hand up as deputy - a role that is also elected by caucus but usually is the leader's choice.

Her message to whoever came out as leader was to "unite this team. We are going to be great, let's beat Jacinda Ardern".

Louise Upston said she was confident the party would be able to united after.

"I think it's pretty obvious why we need a united team."

Bridges was the only serious contender for the role, and while caucus will still meet at 3pm for the election Luxon is now certain to get the job uncontested.

Caucus will also elect a deputy - Luxon's preference was understood to be Nicola Willis but it is possible that has changed after his talks with Bridges. It is likely Bridges will be given the finance portfolio.

It is a big move for Luxon, who has only been in Parliament for a year.

The former CEO of Air NZ has long been touted as a future leader and is a close friend of former PM John Key.

After the caucus met, the party put out a statement confirmed Luxon was selected as leader and Willis was confirmed as the new deputy leader.

“It is a tremendous privilege to lead our great party, and I thank my colleagues for the confidence they have placed in me,” Luxon said.

“I’m delighted the Caucus has elected Nicola Willis as Deputy Leader. She will do an incredible job and we will be a formidable team.

“The unified National Party that Nicola and I lead will work every day to represent all New Zealanders, earn back their trust and confidence, and deliver for them.

“Now, more than ever, New Zealand needs the National Party to offer them hope, ambition and drive to meet the challenges of the coming decade.

“I came to politics because I know how to solve problems and get things done.

“I have built a career out of reversing the fortunes of under-performing companies and I’ll bring that real-world experience to this role.

“We are the new National Party that New Zealand needs.”

 

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