Duncan Garner: National MPs won't eject Simon Bridge as leader just yet

Opinion 12/02/2019

By Duncan Garner, The AM Show host

OPINION: So the latest poll is out. Is National in crisis? No. It's impossible to say National is in crisis when the party is at 41.5 percent.

National will not change their leader at 41.5 percent.

But I will call last night's poll an earthquake moment, and that's because the earth has moved.

Judith Collins is now more popular than Simon Bridges and more people want her to be PM than Simon.

Polls actually mean diddly-squat this far out from the election, except polls can change the leader. 

Hands of National MPs are hovering over the red button - but they're yet to push eject.

Until now there has been no mood to ditch Bridges. National is a conservative party that hates the thought of a Labour-style leader-go-round. But these Nats also hate being in opposition. The party thinks it is much better than that.

Here's the trigger point for Bridges. Bridges will be replaced as leader if National's vote collapses further. If it dips into the 30s, he's toast.

That's what Judith Collins and her few supporters are waiting for. You can, however, expect Paula Bennett to perhaps fight Collins. There is no love lost there, but equally there's no deep affectionate love for Judith in the caucus. Those who love her, deeply love her. The rest is suspicious.

But, most will hold their noses and do whatever it takes to be in Government.

Three more polls with Collins ahead of Bridges, and if National's support dips into the 30s, Simon will be gone.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show, weekdays on Magic Talk, Three, and Newshub.