National's new leader Todd Muller to focus on helping small business owners

The new leader of the Opposition says he’ll be the party's spokesperson for small businesses, taking the role from Todd McClay, and will take up the ministerial role if elected in September.

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Todd Muller has hit the ground running after taking over from Simon Bridges. Source: 1 NEWS

“A Todd Muller-elected government will have an absolute focus from the Prime Minister on small businesses. They need someone down in Wellington to represent their interests now more than ever”, he said.

He says Mr McClay thinks the move is a “fantastic approach”

Mr Muller’s first controversy as leader also surfaced today.

There’s been criticism online over a photo from The Spinoff which shows a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap again displayed in Muller’s office.

He says the hat will also be being displayed in the Opposition leader’s office, alongside two Hillary Clinton pins.

“When I went to America to see the two conventions I got a MAGA cap and I got two Hillary Clinton pins, but of course everyone only sees the red cap not the pins…. when people see the context of my memorabilia they'll be pretty relaxed.

“I love American politics, when I was a little boy I wanted to be the US president. I’ve got a different ambition now in three months time.”

Mr Muller is also not ruling out Simon Bridges from remaining with the National Party.

He called Mr Bridges' conduct yesterday "immensely professional", adding that his position within the party, if he chooses to remain, will be worked out in due time.

"He’s obviously spending a bit of time reflecting on what next in terms of his contribution to the National Party and in time, we’ll be able to work that out. He is a tremendous asset to the party and of course, if he wants to stay involved, he will be.”

Mr Bridges' ousting follows a disastrous 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll result Thursday that saw National drop to its lowest support since 2003, plunging 17 percentage points to 29 per cent.

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Just four months out from the election Mr Muller rolled Simon Bridges for job. Source: Seven Sharp

The Tauranga MP's preferred PM result also dropped six percentage points to 5 per cent, and his approval rating also fell to -40.

Mr Muller said while he identifies himself as Catholic, his religious beliefs do not inform his politics on issues such as abortion and the LGBT+ community.

"I am a person who holds values that are faith-based, but I have never - and will never, ever - stand up and critique anybody else's personally-held values," Mr Muller said.

"I never spoke on those issues when they came to the House because I did not believe that it was my job to stand up and talk to others who had a different view around the area of their thinking.

"I think they will find me someone who is authentic and is completely comfortable with anybody's life choices and it doesn't in any way impact the value set that I have that sits inside me."