National leader Simon Bridges describes Labour's policies 'spray and walk away'

Labour's policies are nothing but "spray and walk away", according to Simon Bridges, who has hit back at a commentator claiming National has lost its way.   

Bridges, leader of the National Party, said he disagrees with comments made last week suggesting National has become too liberal, and that conservative parties around the world are losing support.  

There are "clear philosophical value differences between us and them", Bridges told Magic Talk, adding: "They want to pile on new taxes; we'd get rid of them."

"On social services provision, again we are very different - they are spray and walk away. They want big, fat entitlements for everyone - I say no way."

In a column for Stuff, Christchurch journalist Martin van Beynen questioned National's relevance. He said the party "has to work out" how it can again be the voice of the conservative "silent majority". 

"National must be wondering, like the Republicans and Tories, if social trends towards a more diverse and urban society have left it behind."

In New Zealand, van Beynen said National "covers the traditional conservative ground", but suggested Amy Adams - who resigned last week - may have done so because of the "slow death of conservatism". 

Bridges rejected the observation, telling Magic Talk commentators have got it wrong before, pointing to the surprise win of US President Donald Trump in 2016 and re-election of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. 

"The naysayers, the commentary, just like they got it wrong in Aussie, just like they got it wrong in America, they're getting it wrong here."

Bridges was asked why National has supported the Government over issues that conservative parties normally wouldn't, such as gun law reform and climate change. 

Bridges said he gets "criticised we're not cuddly enough on these things". 

He said the reason National voted for Green co-leader James Shaw's Zero Carbon Bill at its first reading was because it "had a lot there that we can go with". 

"Yes, we voted for it at first reading, because actually there's a lot there that we can go along with. But if they keep the methane targets where they are, I made quite clear we may well change our position."

The Bill is now at select committee stage where submissions will be made. Bridges has expressed reservations around support over the expected rate of reduction for methane in the Bill. 

"Listen to James Shaw and Jacinda Ardern on this stuff - they think we're going into some sort of economic nirvana where we rip the plaster off, we don't have farming anymore, and everything's OK - no way."

Bridges said he can "promise" that if National's elected in 2020, there will be "no new taxes in our first term" and that he would "not be increasing petrol taxes". 

"I have made quite clear we want to reduce taxes, and get government out of people's lives. There's no way you can say we're the same as Labour."


Contact Newshub with your story tips: