NZ Election 2020: Simon Bridges 'definitely not' keen for another go at Leader of the Opposition

If the National Party caucus wants to replace Judith Collins as leader after this weekend's election, they're going to have to roll her.

Collins told RNZ on Friday morning she wouldn't quit whatever the result was. 

But former leader Simon Bridges says his colleagues shouldn't come crawling back, ruling out having another go.

"No. Definitely not," he told The AM Show on Friday. "I've been there, done that and look, I enjoyed it - I've got no regrets - but I just want to be part of a team and making sure we're doing everything we can for New Zealanders."

Bridges led the party earlier this year, polling at 46 percent before the pandemic hit, and within reach of becoming Prime Minister. After National's support began to slide, he was rolled by Todd Muller - who had the party at 38 percent - and now under Collins, they're hovering around the 30 percent mark. 

Bridges struggled to get voters to back him personally. Asked in a poll in May to describe him in a single word, voters largely opted for 'idiot', 'average', 'dickhead' and 'don't know'. Some said 'good', while few suggested 'great' or 'nice'. 

Last week Bridges took the opportunity to remind voters that despite his poor personal ratings, the party was in a much stronger position than now.

But he still thinks National has a chance, with potential coalition partner ACT polling strongly on 8 percent.

"Let's see the polls in a day's time. I think MMP elections are actually always closer than people [expect], so let's see what happens on the night." 

Bridges was on The AM Show with Labour MP David Parker. Asked to say something nice about Labour's three years in charge, Bridges said they've "risen to the challenge when there's been crises".

"I think overall though, they haven't delivered."

"I was asking you to be nice," interjected host Duncan Garner.

"Well, I did a bit of both - look, we are a day before an election," protested Bridges.

Asked to say something nice about National's achievements in Opposition, Parker struggled - saying they "don't get to do much". 

"You could say something nice about me," suggested Bridges.

"Well, you're nicer than Judith," replied Parker.

"You've offended two people with that comment," Bridges responded, opting not to say anything more on the matter.

Parker also decided not to go into further detail. 

Collins told The AM Show if National can defy the polls and get into the high 30s, with ACT's 8 percent they might have a path into power - provided Labour don't get an outright majority and the Greens fall below the 5 percent threshold and don't win Auckland Central

Tune in on Three and from 7pm on Saturday for Newshub's Decision 2020 election special.