Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller has won the support of the National Party caucus, defeating Simon Bridges in a vote for party leader this afternoon.
Todd Muller and his wife Michelle arriving at Parliament today before he won the leadership vote.
There are reports that Nikki Kaye has been elected as the new deputy leader.
The country is four months away from the 2020 general election.
This week moved fast for National MPs who saw their party’s ratings dip in two polls, and followed by a summon to the Capital to vote in their preferred leader – Bridges or Muller.
It follows a disastrous 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll result last night that saw National drop to its lowest support since 2003, plunging 17 percentage points to 29 per cent.
Mr Bridges’ preferred PM result dropped six percentage points to 5 per cent, and his approval rating also fell to -40.
Mr Muller’s victory came after an emergency caucus meeting today, where MPs were brought back to Wellington to make the vote.
Prominent National MPs in the firing line as support for party plummets in new 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll
The National Party website crashed during the meeting.
Nikki Kaye has been elected Deputy Leader, replacing Paula Bennett.
In a statement released shortly after, Mr Muller wrote: “There is no Team Todd, there is no Team Nikki, or anyone else – there is only Team National.”
“National has always been a coalition of city and country, business and community, conservatives and liberals – National is the party for all New Zealanders. New Zealanders need a National Government with the experience and management skills to get our country through the worst crisis since the end of the Second World War.
“My focus as leader is our country’s economic recovery and the strengthening of every community throughout New Zealand.”
When Mr Muller arrived at Parliament this morning, he told journalists he was “feeling very excited”, calling it “a momentous day for the National Party”.
Mr Muller, who grew up in Te Puna, Bay of Plenty, was a former staffer to then-PM Jim Bolger in 1996, entering Parliament as an MP in 2014.
Source: rnz.co.nz Republished by arrangement.