Simon Bridges - There's a housing crisis for those without homes

  • 28/02/2018

The new leader of the National Party says there is a housing crisis but only for those without a home.

In his first full day as the opposition leader on Wednesday, Simon Bridges was pressed by media on his regrets of the former National government and whether there is a housing crisis.

"Is it a crisis? Yeah, for some it is. For those who don't have houses it is a crisis," he told RNZ.

The former energy minister said he thought there needed to be more of an emphasis on the environment as it was something New Zealanders believed deeply in.

Mr Bridges said he wanted to "modernise" the party's policies but that wouldn't entail a move to the left or right or radicalisation.

Simon Bridges with Paula Bennett.
Simon Bridges with Paula Bennett. Photo credit: Getty

As an opposition leader, Mr Bridges said he would be "vigorous" which meant "sometimes being very aggressive".

The first Māori leader of a major party, Mr Bridges said he hadn't had much to do with Māori culture growing up but hoped he could still be a role model.

"I hope that Māori, particularly young Māori, see something in me as an ordinary New Zealander, as a pretty ordinary Māori who's aspired and is the leader of the opposition, and I hope that is somewhat inspiration for them."

Mr Bridges cited John Key as one of his political heroes and said he first got into politics after seeing a poster for the 1993 election in the Te Atatu supermarket he was working in as a teenager.

Asked how he could beat Jacinda Ardern, he said her weakness was those around her.

"I think she leads a weak government because of the way it came together with the parties around her. I think they don't have a programme, and that's because they didn't do the hard yards in opposition."