May 21, 2020
Prayers needed as Bridges faces Todd test
National MPs may want to practice social distancing today, but they have no choice but to assemble in Wellington to choose who will lead them to a likely loss in September’s election.
Simon Bridges, the party’s first Māori leader, triggered the spill as backbench list MPs and even some frontbenchers panicked over polls showing they will be looking for jobs come October.
Yesterday’s One News Colmar Brunton poll, which usually favours National, put it at 29 per cent support compared to 59 per cent for Labour.
Mr Bridges scored just 5 per cent as preferred prime minister, with Jacinda Ardern’s steady management of the COVID-19 crisis earning her 63 per cent favourability, up 23 per cent on the February poll, which also has National ahead of Labour by 5 points.
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller, a former Fonterra and Zespri executive, thinks he can claw some of the support back if caucus members give him and his running mate Nikki Kaye a chance.
Labour’s Ikaroa Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri says Mr Bridges may be counting on the support offered by Anglican Bishop Kito Pikaahu after making a submission to the Epidemic Response Committee yesterday.
"Bishop Kito said 'And Simon, before we leave, I'll let you know I'm going to pray for you," she said, laughing.
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