Simon Bridges pulls out 'OK Boomer' burn on Peter Williams over 17yo candidate doubts

Simon Bridges took a page out of Chloe Swarbrick's book by pulling out an "OK Boomer" burn on Magic Talk's Peter Williams when he expressed doubt over National's new 17-year-old candidate. 

William Wood, 17, was announced on Sunday as National's candidate for Palmerston North and he'll be up against Labour MP and minister Iain Lees-Galloway at the 2020 election, who in 2017 won 53 percent of votes. 

Bridges, National leader, was probed about the young candidate's lack of experience during a radio interview on Monday morning with Williams. 

The radio broadcaster told Bridges: "I'm sorry, Simon, but this is quite extraordinary. Did head office have any say in this at all?"

Bridges retorted: "OK Boomer."

Green MP Chloe Swarbrick went global earlier this month when she used the 'OK Boomer' quip in Parliament responding to a heckling National MP.  

Williams told Bridges: "I struggle with a Prime Minister who's younger than my daughter so therefore I would struggle with a teenager - somebody fresh from school - hoping to be a Member of Parliament.

"There's just not enough life experience there, Simon."

Bridges said it's simply "democracy at play". 

"A seat like Palmerston North, there is actually a deep National membership, and so they select the candidates themselves," he told Williams. 

"You've got to say, it's a surprise, but William Wood came through - two other much older candidates were there and he won.

"I think what it says is that the left doesn't have a monopoly on youth."

Wood beat three women to be chosen as National's Palmerston North candidate, defeating the party's 2017 candidate Adrienne Pierce, sitting National MP Jo Hayes, and Ava Neal.  

The 17-year-old would be the youngest MP in Parliament if elected to the Palmerston North seat, after Swarbrick, 25, who is a list MP for the Greens. 

Wood has just completed his final year at Palmerston North Boys High School and has some political experience, having been selected for two years in a row to represent New Zealand at the Evatt Diplomacy Competition in Australia.

He was National MP Ian McKelvie's Youth MP, during which time he debated in Parliament, was selected as one of the country's top three youth policy developers and sat on the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee.

"He's a bright young guy," Bridges said. "I don't know William; I talked to him for the first time last night, we had a conversation, and he's got a good head on his shoulders and I wish him well."

Williams questioned Bridges on why National would risk not winning the Palmerston North seat to a more experienced Labour candidate, particularly when Labour also won the party vote in 2017. 

"I would have thought a high-profile candidate would give you a chance there, particularly when the opposition is Lees-Galloway and all the stuff ups that he's made," Williams said. 

"I think we can do very well," Bridges replied. 

He suggested Lees-Galloway's handling of the Karel Sroubek case as Immigration Minister could sway voters away from voting him in again. 

"This is a guy who stuffed up Sroubek and he's had a bunch of other misstatements and he doesn't care much about small business," Bridges said. 

"What I would say to you - not knowing William well - is that I'm confident after talking to him last night that he's going to put his best foot forward... What he lacks in experience he will have in energy.

"I think you'll see a very enthusiastic campaign from him... it'll be high energy from National in Palmerston North.

Massey University has a campus in Palmerston North and Bridges said having a young candidate might appeal to student voters. 

"It's a university city, so having someone who's young and can relate to university students isn't a bad thing."

Lees-Galloway has held the Palmerston North seat since 2008. 

Wood is currently too young to cast a vote but will turn 18 in January. 

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