New Zealand opposition ousts leader after he takes down rival | Instant News

New Zealand’s conservative National Party, the country’s main opposition party, ousted its leader Judith Collins after she demoted her leadership rival for alleged misconduct.

The National Party ousted Collins after he demoted Simon Bridges, also a former party leader, because of “comments made by [him] to a female caucus colleague at an event a few years ago,” Reuters reports.

A party caucus to elect a new leader is scheduled for November 30.

“I’m happy to say I’m just an MP for Papakura again. It’s been a privilege to take over the leadership of @NZNationalParty during the worst of times and do so for 16 months,” Collins tweeted on Wednesday.

“I knew when I was told by a female colleague of a serious misconduct charge against a senior colleague that I was likely to lose leadership by taking this matter very seriously. If I didn’t, then I felt that I would ‘not deserve the role,'” he added.

Collins’ deputy, Shane Reti, has been appointed interim leader of the party until a new leader is elected next week, Reuters reports.

Collins became party leader in July 2020, shortly before New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was re-elected.

When asked about the leadership reshuffle by New Zealand media, Ardern said, “We are in the middle of a global pandemic and so my focus needs to be managing that,” characterizing the new development as an internal National Party issue.


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