2018 New Zealand National Party leadership election

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2018 New Zealand National Party leadership election
← 2016 27 February 2018
Amy Adams politician.jpg
Candidate Simon Bridges Amy Adams
1st Rd. Qualified to 2nd Rd. Qualified to 2nd Rd.
2nd Rd. ≥29 ≤29

Judith Collins MP.jpg
Steven Joyce crop.jpg
Candidate Judith Collins Steven Joyce
1st Rd. Eliminated Eliminated

Leader before election

Bill English

Leader after election

Simon Bridges

The 2018 New Zealand National Party leadership election was held on 27 February 2018 to determine the 12th Leader of the National Party. On 13 February 2018, Bill English announced his resignation as leader of the National Party, effective on 27 February 2018. He left Parliament on 13 March 2018. On 20 February, Deputy Leader Paula Bennett announced that a concurrent deputy leadership election would take place, in which she would stand.[1]

After a secret caucus ballot Simon Bridges was declared the new leader of the National Party and Paula Bennett was re-elected as deputy.[2]


The Fifth National Government of New Zealand came to an end after the 2017 general election saw the National Party win 44% of the vote and Labour and New Zealand First form the minority Sixth Labour Government with confidence and supply from the Green Party. On 13 February 2018 Bill English, the leader of the National Party and Prime Minister from 2016 to 2017, announced his resignation as party leader effective on 27 February, and as a Member of Parliament effective on 13 March.[3][4] Deputy leader Paula Bennett asked National senior whip Jami-Lee Ross for her role to also be put up for election, but she would run to keep the position.[5] No other candidate declared an intention to run for the deputy leadership before 27 February.


Declared candidates[edit]

At the time of the election, the following individuals were candidates:

Name Positions Notes Endorsements
Amy Adams politician.jpg
Amy Adams
  • MP for Selwyn since 2008
  • Shadow Minister of Justice, Shadow Minister of Workplace Relations
Adams announced her candidacy on 14 February 2018.[6]
National MPs
Media personalities
Simon Bridges
  • MP for Tauranga since 2008
  • Shadow Leader of the House, Shadow Minister of Economic and Regional Development, Shadow Minister of Immigration
Bridges announced his candidacy on 14 February 2018.[10]
Judith Collins MP.jpg
Judith Collins
  • MP for Papakura since 2002
  • Shadow Minister of Transport, Shadow Minister of Revenue
Collins announced her candidacy on 14 February 2018.[13]
Former political figures
Media personalities
Steven Joyce crop.jpg
Steven Joyce
  • List MP since 2008
  • Shadow Minister of Finance, Shadow Minister of Infrastructure
Joyce announced his candidacy on 20 February 2018.[24]

Withdrew before vote[edit]

Name Positions Notes Endorsements
Mark Mitchell 2017.jpg
Mark Mitchell
  • MP for Rodney since 2011
  • Shadow Minister of Defence
Mitchell announced his candidacy on 19 February 2018.[25]
He withdrew the morning of the caucus vote, either before[26] or during the caucus meeting.[27]


The following individuals were speculated as being possible leadership candidates, but ruled out a bid:

Public opinion polling[edit]

Date Polling organisation Sample size Amy Adams Paula Bennett Simon Bridges Jonathan Coleman Judith Collins Steven Joyce Nikki Kaye Mark Mitchell Todd Muller Unsure
30 Jan – 14 Feb 2018 UMR Research[34] 1,000 8% 11% 8% 4% 12% 10% 12% 2% 34%
Nat. 9% 14% 9% 3% 17% 14% 11% 1% 19%
19–25 Feb 2018 UMR Research[35] 600 13% N/A 11% N/A 21% 16% N/A 7% N/A 33%
~230 Nat. 8% N/A 11% N/A 25% 23% N/A 7% N/A 26%


The election was conducted as a secret ballot of the National Party parliamentary caucus.[36] An exhaustive ballot method was used, so that the support of 29 of the 56 MPs were required to elect the leader.[37] Bridges was elected party leader after two rounds of voting.[36] Bennett and Collins ran for the deputy leadership, and Bennett was re-elected to the position.[38]


On 6 March Joyce announced his retirement from politics following speculation he would lose the finance portfolio. Joyce wouldn't confirm or deny this but said Bridges offered him a "high-ranking" portfolio.[39] On 11 March Bridges announced his shadow cabinet which saw Adams, Collins and Mitchell receive promotions; ranked 3rd, 4th and 7th respectively.[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Paula Bennett and Ron Mark's job on line as Nat's and NZ First mull deputy leadership". Stuff.co.nz. 20 February 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  2. ^ Bracewell-Worrall, Anna (27 February 2018). "National chooses Simon Bridges". Newshub. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Bill English announces retirement from Parliament" (Press release). New Zealand National Party. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Resignations — Rt Hon Bill English, National". Parliamentary Debates. Parliament of New Zealand. 22 February 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  5. ^ Hickey, Bernard; Cowlishaw, Shane (20 February 2018). "Live: National deputy leadership will also go to vote". Newsroom. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Amy Adams joins National leadership race". Radio New Zealand. 14 February 2018.
  7. ^ Hawkesby, Kate (15 February 2018). "Amy Adams the clear frontrunner over Simon Bridges and Judith Collins for National leadership". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  8. ^ a b Hawkesby, Kate (20 February 2018). "I'm impressed by Mark Mitchell's leadership credentials". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  9. ^ @damianlight (26 February 2018). "FWIW I hope Amy Adams wins the National leadership contest. Of all of them she seems the most progressive and genuine" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "Bridges joining Collins in leadership contest". RNZ National. 14 February 2018.
  11. ^ Braunias, Steve (14 February 2018). "Loose goose Simon Bridges obvious pick as satirist-in-chief". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  12. ^ Hehir, Liam (15 February 2018). "Bridges best bet for conservatives". Newsroom. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d "Judith Collins announces National leadership bid". Newshub. 14 February 2018.
  14. ^ Tibshraeny, Jenée (14 February 2018). "Don Brash on why Judith Collins is best placed to take on Jacinda Ardern; Michelle Boag on how the party's leadership change will be 'tidy'; and David Farrar on how National's new leader will create its brand". interest.co.nz.
  15. ^ Williams, Mike (17 February 2018). "Mike Williams: Gongoozling and the race to be Nats' leader". The New Zealand Herald. APN News & Media.
  16. ^ Hosking, Mike (14 February 2018). "Why Judith Collins should be National's next leader". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  17. ^ a b Hosking, Mike (20 February 2018). "No contest - Steven Joyce should be National's next leader". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  18. ^ Slater, Cameron (15 February 2018). "Crushin' it". Whale Oil. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Judith Collins heir to National Party throne - Chris Trotter, Trish Sherson". Newshub. MediaWorks New Zealand. 14 February 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Duncan Garner: National, want the nuclear option? Pick Judith 'Crusher' Collins". Stuff.co.nz. Fairfax Media Limited. 17 February 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Heather du Plessis-Allan: Judith Collins is the right person for the job, for now at least". The New Zealand Herald. NZME. 18 February 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Barry Soper: National should unleash its rottweiler - Judith Collins". The New Zealand Herald. NZME. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Judith Collins for National Party leader; the rest can 'zip it, sweetie'". Stuff.co.nz. Fairfax Media Limited. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  24. ^ "National MP Steven Joyce has thrown his hat in the ring". Stuff.co.nz. 20 February 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  25. ^ "Mark Mitchell announces he will contest National Party leadership to replace Bill English". The New Zealand Herald. 19 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Mark Mitchell abandons National leadership bid at last minute". The New Zealand Herald. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  27. ^ Patterson, Jane (27 February 2018). "Reshuffle will show Bridges' commitment to renewal". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  28. ^ a b Lynch, Jenna (13 February 2018). "Who will replace Bill English? The contenders". Newshub.
  29. ^ a b Murphy, Tim (13 February 2018). "So who does National turn to now?". Newsroom.
  30. ^ "Jonathan Coleman out of the leadership race". Newshub. 15 February 2018.
  31. ^ Trevett, Claire (13 February 2018). "Pros and cons: Who will be National's next leader?". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  32. ^ "Is Judith Collins the right person to lead National into the next election?". 1 News. 14 February 2018.
  33. ^ Hudson, Daisy (15 February 2018). "Rotorua MP Todd McClay rules out National leadership challenge". Rotorua Daily Post.
  34. ^ a b Manhire, Toby (22 February 2018). "Exclusive: Poll gives Judith Collins slim lead as preferred National leader". The Spinoff. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  35. ^ Manhire, Toby (26 February 2018). "New poll on National leadership gives late boost to outsiders". The Spinoff. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  36. ^ a b "New National leader Simon Bridges: 'A great privilege'". Radio New Zealand. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  37. ^ Moir, Jo (14 February 2018). "National's ten first-term MPs could decide the next leader". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  38. ^ Kirk, Stacey (27 February 2018). "Simon Bridges emerges as next National Party leader, Paula Bennett his deputy". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  39. ^ Bracewell-Worrall, Anna; Lynch, Jenna; Ewing, Isobel (6 March 2018). "Steven Joyce resigns from Parliament". Newshub. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  40. ^ New Zealand National Party (11 March 2018). "Bridges unveils team to take on Ardern-Peters Govt". Scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 13 March 2018.