Simon Bridges says Judith Collins is '800 percent' more popular than he is

Simon Bridges has yet again been forced to downplay talk he's keen for another go at the National Party leadership. 

Bridges, who led the party for two years before being rolled in May 2020, made a reappearance in the preferred Prime Minister rankings in a recent poll. 

He scored 1 percent in the TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll released earlier this week.

"Congratulations Simon," AM Show host Duncan Garner told Bridges on Friday morning.

"Comeback kid," added Labour MP David Parker, also on the show.

Bridges stayed silent for nearly 15 seconds, before laughing - then downplaying his chances. 

"Well, look - Christopher Luxon is 200 percent more popular than me. Judith Collins is 800 percent more popular than me. So I'll stick to my day job."

Bridges lost the leadership after his party's polling started to slide in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2020 National polled 46 percent in a TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll, and 43.3 percent in one by Newshub-Reid Research. 

The latest poll had National on 27 percent - not statistically different from their election result of 25.6 percent. 

Just 8 percent of those polled picked current leader Judith Collins as their preferred Prime Minister, and 2 percent new MP Christopher Luxon, former head of Air New Zealand. Bridges' highest-ever score was 12 percent in May 2018. 

Bridges and Parker on The AM Show.
Bridges and Parker on The AM Show. Photo credit: The AM Show

ACT's David Seymour was in third, on 4 percent. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led the way on 43 percent. 

Collins has said she's "not at all" worried about a leadership challenge.