ZB

Simon Bridges prepares for final speech in the House

Author
Claire Trevett, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 4 May 2022, 3:52pm

Simon Bridges prepares for final speech in the House

Author
Claire Trevett, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 4 May 2022, 3:52pm

National Party MP Simon Bridges will deliver his valedictory speech at Parliament at 5.40pm today, saying on the controversy scale he was rating it a "solid 5.5 out of 10". 

Bridges announced in March he was resigning, ending an eventful 14-year stint as an MP. 

He will take on the role of chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. 

He did his last media conference as an MP early this afternoon, saying his valedictory would include "a little truth-telling" but would not be a free-for-all. 

"My colleagues will come out okay. If we put Louisa [Wall] at a nine, I'm a solid 5.5. Wait and see." 

National MP Simon Bridges will give his valedictory speech at 5.40pm. Photo / Mark Mitchell 

Louisa Wall hit out at the Labour Party hierarchy for the way it managed the Manurewa selection in 2020, when she moved onto the list. 

Bridges also dispensed some philosophy in a message to other MPs. 

"Don't worry, be happy. Life is good, the really bad stuff sometimes does eventuate but mostly doesn't. 
 
"It's a privilege to be here. Pinch yourself when you're in that green leather, enjoy the ride and try to do some good along the way." 

Parliament's seats are upholstered in green leather. 

Asked if the National Party had changed since he was leader from 2018 to early 2020, he said: "I think the National Party is still the National Party, the way a Big Mac is still a Big Mac." 

He said Parliament itself had changed since he arrived in 2008. "It was a more, if I'm frank, lively place. There was a sense of great characters who got up and did the business. But it has become a slightly more timid place. I don't know if that's entirely good." 

National MP Simon Bridges during his last media conference at Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell 

Bridges had contested the leadership for a second time but withdrew after it became obvious Christopher Luxon would win it. 

He said he would be watching with a lot of interest as next year's election loomed. Recent polls had shown it was going to be "bloody close". 

"That's not a bad thing, I think that tightness, I hope, will lead to a contest of ideas. The second thing that's true is that the polling shows people like what they see in Chris Luxon. And so, while there's still a long way to run until the election the early signs are very good in terms of the leadership change." 

National MP Simon Bridges. Photo / Mark Mitchell 

Judith Collins was removed as leader in a vote of no confidence after trying to demote Bridges over a lewd remark he had made several years earlier. 

Bridges' political career included time as Cabinet minister in the last term of the John Key-led government. He won the leadership contest after Bill English stepped out in early 2018. 

He was rolled by Todd Muller in early 2020, after National's polling took a massive hit during the early months of Covid-19. 

Bridges said he wasn't feeling sad but he would miss the people at Parliament – including colleagues and staff.