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Todd Muller's 53 days: Controversy, resignations and minor surgery

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller's tumultuous 53 days as Opposition Leader saw controversy, four National MP resignations, one resignation reversal and even a minor surgery. 

National's former leader Todd Muller Source: Getty

A timeline of events:

May 22 - Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye took over the National leadership team after rolling Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett. 

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It’s been a rocky start for Todd Muller after rolling Simon Bridges, but he’s finding his feet and staging a comeback in the polls. Source: Sunday

May 25 - Mr Muller committed to National's election policies of raising the retirement age in 2037, reinstating oil and gas exploration, and promised to give small businesses $10,000 for each new staff member (up to 10) that it hires. 

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“It’s a little bit like having your mouth over a fire hydrant,” the new Opposition leader said. Source: 1 NEWS

May 26 - National's leadership team incorrectly described finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith as Māori, after questions about the lack of Māori MPs in their top 12 line-up. Mr Muller also was forced to make a u-turn over his controversial Donald Trump "Make America Great Again" cap, saying it would be packed away in a box. Amy Adams reversed her decision to leave Parliament. 

June 9 - Mr Muller underwent minor surgery to remove pre-cancerous moles. 

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From Paul Goldsmith’s ethnicity, to Hamish Walker’s leaks – it’s been a torrid time for Mr Muller. Source: 1 NEWS

June 11 - The Māori Party labelled Mr Muller a "racist" over challenging a fishing ban Mōtītī Island, as well as a lack of diversity on National's front bench, while also ruling out working with National post-election.

June 25 - Mr Muller describes then-Health Minister David Clark as a "non essential worker".

June 25 - National jumped in support under Todd Muller in the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll to 38 per cent. Mr Muller had an approval rating of +9 and went from 0.2 per cent in the May poll up to 13 per cent as preferred PM. 

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National have gained in support after polling at their lowest level since 2003, in the previous poll. Source: 1 NEWS

June 27 - Anne Tolley announced her retirement at the election - despite previously indicating her intention to be Speaker should National win the election. 

June 29 - Paula Bennett announced her retirement after the election. Ms Bennett let comedian Tom Sainsbury know of her decision before Mr Muller. Ms Bennett told TVNZ1's Breakfast that Mr Muller did know she was "highly likely to be leaving... I just didn't tell him the day".

July 1 - Finance Minister Grant Robertson called National leader Todd Muller's consistency on border issues that "of a bored cat".

July 7 - National MP Hamish Walker confessed to leaking Covid-19 patient details to the media. Shortly after, Michelle Boag admited being the original source.

July 8 - Mr Muller said he didn't not want MP Hamish Walker to run as the party's candidate in the Clutha-Southland electorate. Michelle Boag quit her National Party roles. Mr Walker announced he won't stand at the next election.

July 9 - Mr Muller rejected questions that more than one MP had data leaks sent to them, and denied speaking to Michael Woodhouse.

July 10 - Mr Muller said he knew on July 7 that Mr Woodhouse had been sent confidential patient information by Ms Boag. Michelle Boag withdrew all membership from National Party and said she has an "unhealthy relationship with politics".

Later that day, National MP Jian Yang announced his resignation, less than two weeks after TVNZ1's Q+A reporter Whena Owen revealed a two-year battle to try and get an interview with him.

July 14 - Mr Muller announced his resignation

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He has only been in the role for a short time, after ousting Simon Bridges. Source: Breakfast