More 'big names' expected to run for National alongside Christopher Luxon

Ex-Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon will not be the only high-profile person running for National at the 2020 general election, Simon Bridges says.

The National Party leader said in a few months' time, other "impressive people" will be putting their names forward alongside Luxon to run for the party. 

"We're a party of talent, and talented people want to be part of us, and know that we can form the next government," Bridges told Magic Talk Monday morning. 

But Bridges did not give away any clues about who those high-profile people might be. 

He told Magic Talk he was aware that Luxon was planning to run for the Botany electorate in Auckland before announcing it publicly on Thursday last week. 

"I can't talk about the selection for obvious reasons... It'll be a competition, and no one wants the leader of the National Party screwing the scrum if you like," Bridges said. 

"But what I would say is we are blessed with great talent. If you look at Labour doing their selections, they are not going to have any of that."

Bridges said whether you're for or against National, the party will have the "best people from business and other sectors", and promised "you will be surprised by other big names we get next year". 

He said National will decide who will run for Botany before Christmas. 

Luxon will be up against Independent MP for Botany Jami-Lees Ross, who resigned from the National Party last year after a massive public falling out with Bridges. 

"The National Party [selection] process is incredibly rigorous and sometimes actually harder than the voting day," Bridges said. 

"It wouldn't surprise me if you have anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen names that come forward.... Christopher [Luxon]'s a public one we've seen, but I'm absolutely sure there'll be a contest."

Bridges said the candidate will be chosen by a group of National Party members in Botany. 

"Because Botany has a large membership, what that means is that the members themselves choose the delegate and have a process whereby the delegates come through."

The latest Newshub-Reid Research Poll shows the National Party's support growing. It's now on 43.9 percent, up 6.5 percent, ahead of Labour on 41.6 percent, down 9.2 percent. 

"I suppose it shows what we've been seeing anyway... This isn't something that happens overnight," Bridges said. "It is a big drop for Labour and it reflects many things."

He said there is a sense that the Government is "not up to much - it's not doing anything and it's certainly not delivering like it said it would". 

"I think, with the greatest of respect to the Prime Minister and the Government, I was right when I said this Government is a part-time one.

"Whether it's housing, transport or economy, health, education, you name it - it's just not doing what needs to be done."

Sunday's poll results show National would not be able to form a government with David Seymour's ACT as its only ally - but that doesn't seem to worry Bridges. 

More 'big names' expected to run for National alongside Christopher Luxon

"I'm not going to talk, talk, talk and give away tactics and strategies today, but watch this space," he said. "I think we'll make it, I think we'll have friends."

He pointed to the 0.6 percent increase for ACT, now on 1.4 percent, the first time it has polled over 1 percent in Newshub's poll since 2014. 

The Māori Party also got a slight increase of 0.7 percent, up 0.1 percent. The Māori Party supported the previous National-led Government through confidence and supply.  

"You've got ACT up; you look at what's happened over the weekend with the Māori Party starting to stand a candidate," Bridges said. 

The Māori Party announced over the weekend that Taranaki iwi leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer will stand in the electorate of Te Tai Hauāuru for the 2020 general election. 

The party failed to win any seats in the 2017 election and left Parliament.


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