Todd Muller denies leadership ambitions despite endorsement by ex-PM

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 May 2020, 8:06PM
Simon Bridges and Todd Muller in 2017. Photo / George Novak

Todd Muller denies leadership ambitions despite endorsement by ex-PM

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 May 2020, 8:06PM

One of the men believed to be considering a run at the National leadership - and touted as the right leader by a former Prime Minister - says he isn't interested in the job. 

National Party leader Simon Bridges is expected to face a no-confidence vote when his caucus meets next Tuesday unless a second poll shows a change in fortune for his party.

Several senior MPs have told the Herald they are now expecting a vote on Bridges' leadership after a dire Newshub Reid Research poll put the party on just 30.6 per cent.

There are believed to be three MPs who are considering applying for the role: Todd Muller, Mark Mitchell, and Judith Collins. Paula Bennett's name could also appear in the mix.

However, both Muller and Mitchell have both publicly expressed support for Bridges since the poll.

"I do not believe we can sit here now, 130 days out from an election when we are about to tip into the greatest recession of a generation, that you can make that view that National cannot win.

"I don't believe it, I know the National Party caucus don't believe it, and I know Simon doesn't believe it."

However, former Prime Minister Jim Bolger publicly voiced support for Muller on RNZ today, saying National would be doing a lot of "soul searching" and he believed Muller had the skills to take New Zealand forward from Covid-19.

"Todd worked in my office when I was Prime Minister, worked with me as a councillor on the university council at Waikato. He's a businessman of significant experience working with the biggest company - Fonterra - working with Zespri the kiwifruit exporter and so on.

"He has a different range of skills, but they're going to be the totally relevant skills going forward."