Lead­er­ship con­tenders emerg­ing from ranks

Taranaki Daily News - - News - STACEY KIRK, HENRY COOKE AND LAURA WAL­TERS

''Some­times it's bet­ter to have that vote right at the start and clear the air."

Na­tional MP Jonathan Cole­man

Amy Adams, Si­mon Bridges and Ju­dith Collins have an­nounced for­mal bids to re­place Bill English as the leader of the Na­tional Party.

English an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion in two weeks on Tues­day, set­ting off a con­test for lead­er­ship as­pi­rants in his party to win sup­port from their fel­low MPs.

Adams vowed to win against Jacinda Ardern in 2020 in an an­nounce­ment yes­ter­day.

Flanked by col­leagues, she said she would be a so­cially lib­eral, eco­nom­i­cally con­ser­va­tive leader of the Na­tional Party, and a straight shooter. ‘‘You’ll never die won­der­ing what I think.’’

Touted as a fron­trun­ner be­fore he de­clared his hand, Bridges said he felt like he had strong sup­port from the num­ber of cau­cus col­leagues who had ap­proached him to run. He said he of­fered the ‘‘right blend of gen­er­a­tional change’’, and ex­pe­ri­ence.

He kept the names of the cau­cus col­leagues who had asked him to stand, close to his chest.

He would also not be drawn on the ex­tent of his sup­port within the cau­cus.

Bridges also in­di­cated there would be some di­rec­tional change but the party would con­tinue its cen­tre-right ap­proach of prag­ma­tism, de­spite him be­ing con­sid­ered by some to be a more con­ser­va­tive can­di­date.

He said he looked for­ward to run­ning against Collins and, re­gard­less of out­come, he would ex­pect her to be el­e­vated to a se­nior po­si­tion un­der any lead­er­ship team.

Collins made her an­nounce­ment to con­test the lead­er­ship on Twit­ter ear­lier yes­ter­day.

She told Stuff she had a plan to get 61 seats at the 2020 elec­tion.

She said she was the only one who could bring the nec­es­sary part­ners to the table.

She called Ardern ‘‘a very formidable per­former’’ who had been un­der­es­ti­mated by peo­ple in the past.

‘‘I think we can­not win un­less we have a very dif­fer­ent per­sona from Jacinda Ardern’s and that we have a very dif­fer­ent and clear set of poli­cies that are not just Labour lite’’.

In that re­gard, her lead­er­ship would likely her­ald a swing fur­ther to the Right than that of Bridges, but Collins said a point of dif­fer­ence was needed and ‘‘I am the one who can do that’’.

Paula Ben­nett ruled her­self out for the top job yes­ter­day but said she would like to stay on as deputy.

Nikki Kaye, who many ex­pected to put her name for­ward, said she would not be run­ning ‘‘in any way, shape or form’’.

When asked whether he would be run­ning for leader, or deputy leader, for­mer health min­is­ter Jonathan Cole­man said: ‘‘I’m not rul­ing any­thing in or out at this stage’’.

He did say he be­lieved he had the nec­es­sary skills to be leader of the Op­po­si­tion.

How­ever, the over­rid­ing con­sid­er­a­tion was to have Na­tional Party lead­er­ship in 2020, so the party needed some­one who could lead the party to that point, and win the next elec­tion.

Cole­man said in an ideal world there would be a clear con­sen­sus can­di­date.

‘‘But the cau­cus al­ways has the right to have that vote.

‘‘And some­times it’s bet­ter to have that vote right at the start and clear the air.’’

A few more names are yet to con­firm whether they would bid to re­place English.

Na­tional chief party whip Jamie-Lee Ross is in charge of the of­fi­cial process.

There was no process writ­ten into the party’s con­sti­tu­tion so it would be de­cided by the cau­cus.

It was likely to be held over the course of the next two weeks, and while some are calling for a con­sen­sus so­lu­tion there is a chance some lead­er­ship con­tenders will take it all the way to a vote.

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