New National Party leader confirmed
History was created today when the National Party elected its new leader to succeed Bill English.
Simon Bridges, of Ngāti Maniapoto descent, is the first Māori to lead the party in its 81 years of existence.
“This morning I was humbled by the support of my colleagues to become the 12th leader of the New Zealand National Party.”
Bridges acknowledge there are now two Māori at the helm of the National vessel.
“Can I also acknowledge my deputy leader the Honourable Paula Bennett who, like me is a proud Westie and Māori.”
Bridges says his Māori genealogy is important to him.
“Growing up in Te Atatū west Auckland with a Pākehā mum and Māori dad, Ruth and Heath Bridges, I never appreciated I would have this responsibility and opportunity to make such a difference to lives of New Zealanders.”
He was born in 1976 and lived in Te Atatu, West Auckland.
He also has a message for Māori voters:
“So, I hope Māori who traditionally been with New Zealand First and Labour at times will give us a second look and will think about us, what we mean and the opportunities that we present for Māori.”
Bridges also said he has aspirations for Māori.
“I don't think Māori are the same today as they have been in the past. I think clearly we're seeing Māori succeed in business both small and large, and they are as aspirational as every other New Zealander.”
Only time will tell if he has the skills to get National back into parliament.