Simon Bridges

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The Honourable
Simon Bridges
MP
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Tauranga
Incumbent
Assumed office
8 December 2008
Preceded by Bob Clarkson
Majority 11,742 (31.69%)
Minister of Consumer Affairs
In office
3 April 2012 – 31 January 2013
Preceded by Chris Tremain
Succeeded by Craig Foss
Personal details
Born October 1976 (age 37)
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
Website simonbridges.co.nz

Simon Bridges (born October 1976 in Auckland, New Zealand) 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.

Bridges lives in Mount Maunganui with his wife, Natalie.

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 at 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 – present 50th Tauranga 30 National

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 #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.

Minister[edit]

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] 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roughan, John (2008-09-25). "A word with... Simon Bridges". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d Dudding, Adam (2008-09-25). "Tauranga: you are now entering Winston country". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  3. ^ Forbes, Stephen (2002-08-22). "Former Rutherford Head Boy to speak". Western Leader. p. 14. Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  4. ^ National Party biography: Simon Bridges. Retrieved on 20 November 2008.
  5. ^ a b Dominion Post and NZPA (2008-05-09). "No Clarkson vs Peters battle in Tauranga". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  6. ^ "Stage set for tussle in Tauranga". ONE News. 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  7. ^ Humer, Tim (2008-11-09). "Newcomers on the stage and a veteran Act". Sunday Star Times. 
  8. ^ "Peters' popularity wanes in latest poll". ONE News. 2008-08-10. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  9. ^ NZPA (2008-11-02). "Poll shows Winston Peters' chances in Tauranga near hopeless". 3 News. Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  10. ^ "Official Count Results -- Tauranga". New Zealand Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  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. 

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Bob Clarkson
Member of Parliament for Tauranga
2008 – present
Incumbent