Leadership contenders emerging from ranks
''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.