Simon Bridges: Meet the man behind the 'sun-freckles'

Simon Bridges has admitted calls for his resignation while Transport Minister may have been justified "once or twice".

He made the admission during a chat on Thursday morning's More FM Breakfast with Simon Barnett and Gary McCormick.

The newly minted leader of the National Party was being quizzed on why he hadn't called for the resignation of Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran over the RNZ scandal that cost a senior manager her job.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it wasn't a sacking offence, and Mr Bridges said he didn't want to be the type of leader constantly calling for people to resign.

"I think those guys called for my resignation eight times, and maybe it was justified once or twice," he told More FM on Thursday.

"But in this instance, you don't want to be doing it all the time. It becomes a bit sad. You don't want to be the boy who cried wolf either - you want to do it when it's actually justified."

That time may come soon however, with RNZ's chairman and chief executive set to meet a parliamentary committee to set the record straight on Thursday morning. Mr Bridges said he may change his tune if they say something "dramatic".

Changing National's image

Mr Bridges also revealed how he plans to change the National Party's image. The More FM hosts suggested to him the public sees National as lacking empathy, particularly in regards to the housing crisis.

"I'm aware of it and I'm sensitive to it. It's a hard one, right?" said Mr Bridges.

"When you're always banging on about the economy and being good at managing it and growing prosperity, that can sound like you're not talking about actually what we know are some struggles out there for people and some issues in education and health, and so on. I suppose the best defence we can say is look, we talk about those other things... because that's what drives everything else. That means you've got the money for health and education.

"But you're right, and I want to make sure that we have exciting policies in the election in 2020 in these other areas so people can see we're being thoughtful about it, and we're not just about the economy, economy, economy - albeit, that as I say is what drives everything else."

Being the boss

Mr Bridges almost didn't run for the leadership, aware that it would mean more time away from his family. So he consulted his wife, who gave him the final push.

"She said you haven't come this far not to do it. You've got to do it," Mr Bridges told the hosts. "In many ways she's more driven, if you like, about these things than I am."

Simon Bridges on The Hui.
Simon Bridges on The Hui. Photo credit: The Hui

The prospect of going up against 'Jacindamania' and the media frenzy around her pregnancy doesn't appear to have him fazed, Mr Bridges saying he's prepared for the increasing focus on personality politics.

"As Jacinda will be soon, I'm a family guy - I've got three young children, I've got a young girl who's four months old.

"People complain it's all personality now and it's all Women's Weekly and all these things, but I think what is true when you're leader, people have got a right to get to know you and get a sense of you. It's not as if in my team I don't have a heap of amazing and formidable women coming through - frankly, I'm surrounded by them with Paula [Bennett, deputy leader], with Amy Adams, with Judith Collins and many others."

The 41-year-old Oxford-educated former prosecutor also deflected claims he is an overachiever.

"Not compared with you, Gary. I've never written a book of poetry."

If he wasn't a lawyer or politician, Mr Bridges said he'd like to be a gardener "playing around with dirt".

He also revealed his favourite movie - Groundhog Day - and that he would not be getting cosmetic surgery to fix his "sun freckles", no matter how many times his mother asks him to.


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