Simon Bridges is the new leader of the National Party

By Jessica Tyson

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges (Ngāti Maniapoto) has been announced the new leader of the National Party.

Bridges is joined by Paula Bennett (Tainui), who remains in the role of Deputy Leader.

A total of 56 National MPs gathered this morning in a caucus meeting to cast their votes on the party leadership.

The five contenders included Bridges, Judith Collins, Steven Joyce, Mark Mitchell and Amy Adams.

Earlier today, Bridges told Te Kāea he was a “proud Māori” and if he was to be made the leader, he hoped it would inspire other Māori.

“I think it’s definitely a part of who I am.  It’s a part of what makes me and I hope Māori New Zealanders see that and are excited about that. It shows them that actually they can achieve and they can do interesting things with their lives and there’s a lot of opportunity in this country.”

In the last National-led Government, Bridges held several ministerial portfolios including Labour, Energy, Transport, Communications, Economic Development and Leader of the House.