Simon Bridges

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Honourable
Simon Bridges
Simon Bridges.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Tauranga
Assumed office
8 December 2008
Preceded by Bob Clarkson
Majority 11,742 (31.69%)
Minister of Transport
Assumed office
6 October 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Gerry Brownlee
Personal details
Born October 1976 (age 39)
Auckland, New Zealand
Political party National
Spouse(s) Natalie Bridges
Residence Mount Maunganui
Alma mater University of Auckland, University of Oxford
Profession Senior crown prosecutor
Religion Christian

Simon Joseph Bridges (born October 1976) is a New Zealand politician and former District and High Court Crown prosecutor. Bridges is currently the representative for the electorate of Tauranga in the 49th New Zealand Parliament, as a member of the National Party. In the 51st New Zealand Parliament, he is Minister of Energy and Resources, and Minister of Transport.

Early life[edit]

Simon Bridges was born in October 1976 in Auckland, the youngest of six children. His father, a Māori of Ngāti Maniapoto descent, was a Baptist Minister, and his mother, a NZ European from Waihi, was a primary school teacher. He is also related to former Labour Cabinet minister Koro Wētere.[1]

Bridges grew up in Te Atatu, where he attended high school at Rutherford College. There, he was taught by future Labour Education Minister Chris Carter, and also became Head Boy of the college.[2][3] He went on to complete a BA in political science and history and an LLB (Hons) at the University of Auckland.

Legal career[edit]

Bridges began his legal career as a litigation lawyer in a major Auckland law firm, Kensington Swan.[2] He moved to Tauranga in 2001 to take up a position as a Crown prosecutor in the District and High Courts. During this time, he took leave to travel to the United Kingdom to study at the London School of Economics, and later to complete a postgraduate law degree at St Catherine's College, Oxford; he also worked as an intern in the British House of Commons.[2] As a Crown prosecutor in Tauranga, Bridges mainly worked on jury trials.[4] Bridges ended his legal career in 2008, when he was nominated by the National Party to stand for election to the New Zealand Parliament.[5]

Early political career[edit]

Bridges became a member of the Young Nationals at the age of 16 and was elected Deputy New Zealand Chair in 1997. He was active in National's West Auckland organisation as a member of Brian Neeson's electorate team, whom he supported at the 2002 general election against a challenge by John Key for the National Party candidacy to contest the new seat of Helensville.[2] In the following years, he held several senior positions within the party, including sitting on the National Party rules committee and serving as chairperson of the Tauranga National Party.[5]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
2008–2011 49th Tauranga 51 National
2011–2014 50th Tauranga 30 National
2014–present 51st Tauranga 18 National

Election to Parliament: 2008–2011[edit]

In 2008, Bridges stepped down from his positions within the National Party to seek his party's candidacy for the seat of Tauranga in the 2008 election, after incumbent Tauranga MP Bob Clarkson (National) announced that he would not be standing for re-election. Bridges was successful in his campaign, appointed in June 2008 as the National Party candidate for the seat;[6] he was eventually listed as No. 51 on the National's party list.[7] Several polls during the campaign indicated that Bridges would win the seat by a large margin.[8][9]

For the 2008 general election, the seat of Tauranga was contested by 11 candidates, including New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. In the election, Bridges won the electorate vote with a majority of 11,742 votes, which saw him become the new MP for the seat of Tauranga, and barred New Zealand First from winning any parliamentary seats, as it did not meet the 5% party vote threshold either.[10] Bridges began his parliamentary career when the new Parliament convened on 8 December 2008. He was re-elected in the 2011 election.[11]

Animal cruelty[edit]

In early 2010, Bridges's Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, increasing penalties for animal cruelty, was drawn from the ballot. After passing its first reading, the government, particularly Agriculture Minister David Carter, adopted the bill[12] and it was passed.

Second term: 2011–2014[edit]

Simon Bridges speaking to Bryce Edwards at a 2011 election event.

Following the resignation of Nick Smith from Cabinet in April 2012, Simon Bridges was made a Minister outside Cabinet for Consumer Affairs with the associate portfolios of Climate Change Issues and Transport.[13]

Bridges has also made regular appearances on TVNZ's Breakfast programme as part of the "Young Guns" feature, in which he appeared alongside Labour MP Jacinda Ardern.[14]

In a reshuffle in January 2013 Bridges moved into the cabinet and became Minister of Labour and Minister of Energy and Resources. His consumer affairs portfolio was given to Craig Foss and his associate transport portfolio given to Michael Woodhouse. He retained his associate climate change issues portfolio.[citation needed]

Bridges voted against the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in New Zealand.[15]

In October 2013, Bridges and John Campbell got into a heated debate on Campbell Live. Bridges failed to answer one of Campbell's questions directly, prompting Campbell to talk over Bridges. Bridges fired back, shouting and even accusing Campbell of being "nimby minded".[16]

In April 2014, Greenpeace launched a campaign calling for Bridges to be sacked as Energy and Resources Minister for "failing to do his job properly".[17] This was in relation to Bridges signing off on potential gas and oil exploration in Victoria Forest Park on the West Coast and not being aware until Newshub reporter Brook Sabins told him.[18]

Third Term: 2014–present[edit]

After the Northland by-election, emails emerged revealing Bridges had received advice days ahead of the Northland one-lane bridge announcement. This led to Labour calling for Bridges to be sacked, accusing him of breaching the Cabinet Manual.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Bridges lives in Matua[20] with his wife, Natalie.[21]


  1. ^ Roughan, John (25 September 2008). "A word with... Simon Bridges". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d Dudding, Adam (25 September 2008). "Tauranga: you are now entering Winston country". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved 20 October 2008. 
  3. ^ Forbes, Stephen (22 August 2002). "Former Rutherford Head Boy to speak". Western Leader. p. 14. Retrieved 20 November 2008. 
  4. ^ National Party biography: Simon Bridges. Retrieved on 20 November 2008.
  5. ^ a b Dominion Post and NZPA (9 May 2008). "No Clarkson vs Peters battle in Tauranga". Retrieved 20 November 2008. 
  6. ^ "Stage set for tussle in Tauranga". ONE News. 14 June 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  7. ^ Humer, Tim (9 November 2008). "Newcomers on the stage and a veteran Act". Sunday Star Times. 
  8. ^ "Peters' popularity wanes in latest poll". ONE News. 10 August 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  9. ^ NZPA (2 November 2008). "Poll shows Winston Peters' chances in Tauranga near hopeless". 3 News. Retrieved 20 November 2008. 
  10. ^ "Official Count Results – Tauranga". New Zealand Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 25 November 2008. 
  11. ^ "Official Count Results – Tauranga". Chief Electoral Office. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  12. ^ Tait, Maggie (2 February 2010). "Govt to back greater penalties for animal cruelty". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 31 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "Bridges becomes minister, Tremain enters Cabinet". Television New Zealand. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "TVNZ Search Results". TVNZ. 
  15. ^ "Gay marriage: How MPs voted". NZ Herald. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "Bridges, TV's Campbell explode into slanging match". Bay of Plenty Times. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  17. ^ "Greenpeace launches campaign for Simon Bridges to be sacked". NZ Herald. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "Opinion: Is Simon Bridges asleep on the job?". Newshub. 20 March 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "John Key backs Simon Bridges over Northland requests". 15 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  20. ^ Ruth Keber, Julia Proverbs (11 March 2014). "Matua most sought after suburb in city". Bay of Plenty Times. 
  21. ^ Amy McGillivray (19 March 2014). "Simon Bridges welcomes second baby into family". Bay of Plenty Times. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Gerry Brownlee
Minister of Transport
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Bob Clarkson
Member of Parliament for Tauranga