Simon Bridges' national roadshow a fail - Tova O'Brien

  • 24/07/2018

National Party leader Simon Bridges wrapped up his national town hall roadshow at the weekend.

While the party says it was a success, Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien says he wasted the opportunity to take the spotlight while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is on leave.

"He opted to go around the regions and meet people in town halls but what he should have been doing was getting out there in front of the entire country," O'Brien said on the AM Show.

"There was six weeks where the Prime Minister was away. He should have been capitalising on that time, getting his mug in front of cameras as much as he could, getting his mug in front of journalists as much as he could and trying to make a splash, and he failed to do that."

Ms Ardern has been away for four weeks following the birth of her baby Neve, with two weeks to go until she returns to Parliament.

Asked if Bridges' leadership was in trouble, O'Brien said: "Based on the preferred Prime Minister polling numbers I would say yes. I think what's saving him is the fact that the party numbers don't appear to be going down yet."

She said he knows he's in trouble and isn't resonating with voters and that's why he's done the national 'getting to know you' roadshow.

"The proof will be in the next round of polls," says O'Brien.

"The first round of polling we did with Simon Bridges was not pretty... He was polling abysmally compared to Jacinda Ardern but also compared to other National Party leaders at this stage in their leadership. He wasn't even scratching the surface compared to where John Key was at about this time into his leadership."

She says Mr Bridges still has time to resonate with voters so long as National Party numbers don't fall in the polls.