Simon Bridges rejects National has ‘some culture problem’

Long Lunch 26/10/2018

National leader Simon Bridges is defending his party’s culture despite requesting an independent review to go ahead.

“I don’t believe there’s some culture problem,” Mr Bridges told RadioLIVE. “I haven’t’ seen evidence of that.”

The previously stable party was smacked with a whirlwind of accusations from the actions of rogue MP Jami-Lee Ross in previous weeks.

Mr Ross accused Mr Bridges of electoral fraud, and released a phone call in which the leader criticised several MPs and made comments some have called racist.

“I think ultimately what we got here, in National, is one person who did a lot of things,” said Mr Bridges, referring to former colleague Mr Ross.

Nevertheless, the National Party leader told media on Tuesday that National was seeking independent advice on a review into the party's culture.

During the weeks-long saga, it was revealed that Mr Ross had been accused of harassment and bullying by multiple women. Party president Peter Goodfellow knew about the alleged behaviour, yet Mr Ross was promoted to the front bench anyway.

Mr Bridges told the media he wants to ensure the women feel safe at work.

"A number of women have been affected here. I'm going to talk to Parliamentary Services this week to make sure women feel absolutely safe in the workplace," Mr Bridges said on Tuesday.

Deputy leader Paula Bennett, Nicky Wagner and Maureen Pugh have all told the media that no culture investigation is necessary. 

Listen to the full interview with Simon Bridges above.

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