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2020 New Zealand National Party leadership election

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Template:Infobox election Template:Infobox election The 2020 New Zealand National Party leadership election was held on 22 May 2020.[1] Simon Bridges and his deputy leader Paula Bennett were challenged by Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye following poor polling results.[2] Muller and Kaye won the votes and became the new leader and deputy leader respectively.[3]

Background[edit source | edit]

After the National Party lost the 2017 election, its leader Bill English resigned, and Simon Bridges won the leadership election in February 2018.

On 18 May 2020, four months before the next general election, a poll was released in which 56.5% of those surveyed would vote for Labour, compared with 30.6% for National. The same poll reported that 59.5% of those surveyed preferred Labour's leader Jacinda Ardern for prime minister, whereas Simon Bridges was preferred by only 4.5%.[4] This was the first public poll since the COVID-19 pandemic reached New Zealand, and Labour had seen widespread support for its actions in the pandemic including from National supporters.[5]

By 19 May, media were reporting on a challenge to Bridges' leadership, citing comments from anonymous National MPs. Also on 19 May, Muller said he had no leadership ambitions and wasn't interested in the job.[6] But on 20 May Muller confirmed in an email to National MPs that he would challenge for the National Party leadership.[7] Later that day the party announced that the vote would be held on 22 May.[1]

Former National Party president Michelle Boag said that the poll was not the only reason for the leadership challenge, describing it as the "catalyst" but saying that there had been "months and months, and sometimes years, of [National] MPs having negative feedback about their leader, not only from party members but from constituents."[8] Some National MPs told reporters that a leadership challenge by Muller had been "brewing for a while."[9]

Muller arrived in Wellington on 21 May in order to talk with National MPs one-on-one. When asked whether Nikki Kaye was his running mate for the deputy position, he refused to comment, saying "all conversations about leadership should stay within caucus".[10] Kaye also refused to confirm she was Muller's running mate.[11] That night, another poll was released which had Labour at 59% and National at 29%. In this poll, which was conducted from 16 to 20 May, Bridges received 5% support as preferred prime minister, while Muller received 0.2%.[12][13]

National MPs arrived at Parliament on the morning of 22 May for an emergency caucus meeting to be held at midday, many having flown into Wellington that morning. Very few would indicate which way they intended to vote,[3] and the vote was a secret ballot.[14]

Candidates[edit source | edit]

Declared candidates[edit source | edit]

Name Positions Endorsements
Simon-Bridges-Free-Crop.jpg
Simon Bridges
Endorsements
  • Bob Clarkson, former National MP[15]
  • Jami-Lee Ross, an independent MP formerly of National, described Bridges as "probably is the one they have to stick with" but said "he ain't a good leader and he's not doing well".[16]
Reported caucus support
Todd Muller.jpg
Todd Muller
  • MP for Bay of Plenty since 2014
  • Spokesperson for Agriculture, Biosecurity, Food Safety, Forestry since 2019
Endorsements
Reported caucus support

Declined[edit source | edit]

The following individuals were speculated as being possible leadership candidates, but ruled out a bid:

Results[edit source | edit]

Todd Muller won the vote for the party leadership, and Nikki Kaye won the vote for the deputy position. Sources had told media outlet Newshub the main result by 12:40 pm local time (NZST),[28] and a party press release confirmed these results within an hour.[3][29][30]

After the election, Muller refused to say how many people had voted for each candidate.[3]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "National confirms leadership vote to be held on Friday". 20 May 2020.
  2. "Simon Bridges faces challenge to his leadership from MPs Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye". 20 May 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Lua error: bad argument #1 to 'fetchLanguageName' (string expected, got nil).
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  5. Lua error: bad argument #1 to 'fetchLanguageName' (string expected, got nil).
  6. ZB, Newstalk. "Todd Muller denies leadership ambitions despite endorsement by ex-PM". ZB. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Simon Bridges coup: National considers emergency caucus meeting on Friday". 20 May 2020.
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  9. Lua error: bad argument #1 to 'fetchLanguageName' (string expected, got nil).
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  11. Lua error: bad argument #1 to 'fetchLanguageName' (string expected, got nil).
  12. "Pressure mounts as National falls to 29%, Labour skyrockets in 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll". 21 May 2020.
  13. Lua error: bad argument #1 to 'fetchLanguageName' (string expected, got nil).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 "National leadership coup: Simon Bridges confident ahead of new poll, Todd Muller challenge". 21 May 2020.
  15. "Simon Bridges to face National Party leadership challenge". 20 May 2020.
  16. Lua error: bad argument #1 to 'fetchLanguageName' (string expected, got nil).
  17. Lua error: bad argument #1 to 'fetchLanguageName' (string expected, got nil).
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 "Simon Bridges vs Todd Muller: It's all about the big W for National". 21 May 2020.
  19. "Woodhouse pledges allegiance as Bridges faces challenge". 21 May 2020.
  20. "How Bridges flushed out Muller". 21 May 2020.
  21. Wrigley, Wynsley (21 May 2020). "Bid to oust leader 'nutty stuff': Tolley". The Gisborne Herald. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "National leadership: MPs give little away as they fly in for vote". 22 May 2020.
  23. "Former PM Jim Bolger backs Todd Muller for next National leader". 19 May 2020.
  24. Hooton, Matthew (22 May 2020). "Matthew Hooton: Simon Bridges v Todd Muller- why National has only one choice". The New Zealand Herald.
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  29. Lua error: bad argument #1 to 'fetchLanguageName' (string expected, got nil).
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