Following the announcements yesterday of two MPs leaving National, Simon Bridges was far from subtle today as he continued his efforts to court outgoing Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon.
"I've said a number of times this is a talented guy, he's had a distinguished career, he's a good guy, I know him pretty well," the party leader told TVNZ1's Breakfast.
"It's kind of not for me to define his career but obviously I'm speaking highly of him ... He signaled an interest in politics and National is the natural home for talent."
Mr Luxon has been widely compared to former prime minister and National Party leader Sir John Key - even featuring in a large newspaper ad in blue, which plays on Dick Frizzell’s well-known 1997 artwork Mickey to Tiki, but features Sir John’s face transforming into Mr Luxon’s.
Mr Bridges said he's spoken to both Sir John and Mr Luxon "about a variety of things", but remained tight-lipped on any potential announcements.
"My point that I would make to New Zealanders is you can be incredibly confident that whether it's from top CE's, whether it's from Māoridom, whether it's from community sectors - we will be drawing the best people to bring it in 2020," he said.
"You will see many more people who want to be members of Parliament for us than we can have, and you will see fresh, massive talent."
Mr Bridges added that it was sad to see high-ranking MP Amy Adams and MP Alastair Scott leaving.
"If you look at them you can understand it," he said. "Politics does take the toll. I mean, in Amy's case she's got a family and life to get on with and she's achieved a lot in politics.
"National, I think, sees itself as a party where you come in, you make a contribution you don't stay around forever and that's somewhat different to, with all do respect, to the Labour Party."