National leader Simon Bridges has confirmed he's giving MP Alfred Ngaro "space" for talks over a new Christian conservative party.
Ngaro, a former pastor and current list MP for Te Atatu, is reportedly planning to lead a new Christian conservative party into the next election - although it's not clear if he's starting his own or joining the New Conservatives.
The New Conservatives - the party that formed from remaining Conservatives after Colin Craig left the party - told Newshub they will meet with Ngaro next week, but wouldn't confirm whether they would be discussing his move to them.
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Speaking on Sunday, Bridges said the establishment of a new religious party is an "alluring idea".
"He told me a month or two back he'd been approached by some people in relation to the idea of a Christian or values party," he said.
"We'll give him the time and the space to see what he does."
If Ngaro did make it into Parliament with a new party, it would provide National with a stable coalition partner at the next election. However Bridges said he was under "no illusions" about how hard it would be to set the new party up.
There has been speculation that National wouldn't run a candidate in the Botany electorate, currently held by rogue former National MP Jami-Lee Ross. Instead they'd encourage voters to give Ngaro the tick, in much the same way they currently prop up ACT in Epsom.
But Bridges denied there was going to be any deal in Botany, saying the party would put a National candidate forward instead.
"Look, I am not interested in electorate deals, that is certainly not something I have canvassed with Alfred or anyone else," he said.
"I can confirm to you I have not done any deals, I have not talked about any deals and actually I am pretty unlikely to want to get into that."