Leader of the New Zealand National Party

Last updated

Leader of the National Party
Simon Bridges

since 27 February 2018
Precursor Bill English
Inaugural holder Adam Hamilton
Formation 2 November 1936
Deputy Paula Bennett

The Leader of the National Party is the highest ranked politician within the National Party in New Zealand. Under the constitution of the party, he or she is required to be a member of the House of Representatives.


The current Leader is Simon Bridges, who has served since his election on 27 February 2018. [1] Bridges has been described as the first Māori leader of a major political party in New Zealand. [2] [3]


Following a general election, or when a vacancy arises, the Parliamentary Section of the National Party (the Caucus) elect a Leader of the Parliamentary Section (that is, the parliamentary leader). The Leader of the Parliamentary Section shall, shortly after receiving the approval of the Board of Directors (the governing body of the Party), become the Leader of the Party. [4]


As parliamentary leader, the Leader organises the business of the party in Parliament. He or she also outwardly represents the party to the general public. Within the party organisation, they must ensure political consensus; the constitution of the National Party states that the Leader has "the right to attend any Party meeting or committee meeting and shall be an ex officio member of the Board". [4]

When the National Party forms the Parliamentary Opposition, as it currently does, the Leader of the Party usually acts as the Leader of the Opposition. When the National Party is in Government the Leader generally becomes the Prime Minister of New Zealand. In 1949, Sidney Holland became the first National Prime Minister. [5]

List of leaders

Of the twelve people to hold the leadership, eight have served as Prime Minister. Dame Jenny Shipley was the first—and, as of 2018, the only—female National Party Leader. [6]

  National   Labour
PM: Prime Minister
LO: Leader of the Opposition

No.LeaderPortraitElectorateTerm BeganTerm EndedTime in OfficePositionPrime Minister
1 Adam Hamilton Wallace 2 November 193626 November 19404 years and 24 daysLO1936–1940 Savage
2 Sidney Holland Fendalton 26 November 194020 September 195716 years, 9 months and 25 daysLO1940–1949 Fraser
3 Keith Holyoake Pahiatua 20 September 19577 February 197214 years, 4 months and 18 daysPM1957Holyoake
LO1957–1960 Nash
4 Jack Marshall Karori 7 February 19724 July 19742 years, 4 months and 27 daysPM1972Marshall
LO1972–1974 Kirk
5 Robert Muldoon Tamaki 4 July 197429 November 198410 years, 4 months and 25 daysLO1974–1975 Rowling
LO1984 Lange
6 Jim McLay Birkenhead 29 November 198426 March 19861 year, 3 months and 26 daysLO1984–1986
7 Jim Bolger King Country (1972–96)
Taranaki-King Country (1996–98)
26 March 19868 December 199711 years, 8 months and 12 daysLO1986–1990
8 Jenny Shipley Rakaia 8 December 19978 October 20013 years and 10 monthsPM1997–1999Shipley
LO1999–2001 Clark
9 Bill English Clutha-Southland 8 October 200128 October 20032 years and 20 daysLO2001–2003
10 Don Brash List MP 28 October 200327 November 20063 years and 30 daysLO2003–2006
11 John Key Helensville 27 November 200612 December 201610 years and 15 daysLO2006–2008
(9) Bill English List MP 12 December 201627 February 20181 year, 2 months and 15 daysPM2016–2017English
LO2017-2018 Ardern
12 Simon Bridges Tauranga 27 February 2018Incumbent128 daysLO2018–Present

See also


  1. Kirk, Stacey (27 February 2018). "Simon Bridges emerges as next National Party leader, Paula Bennett his deputy". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  2. Lynch, Jenna (27 February 2018). "Māori leaders 'proud' of new National leader Simon Bridges". Newshub. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  3. Roy, Eleanor Ainge (27 February 2018). "New Zealand: National party elects Maori leader and deputy to take on Jacindamania". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  4. 1 2 "Constitution and Rules of the New Zealand National Party" (PDF) (25th ed.). New Zealand National Party. October 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  5. "Sidney Holland". nzhistory.govt.nz. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  6. Kenny, Katie; Walters, Laura (14 December 2016). "Line up another white male prime minister". Stuff.co.nz . Retrieved 13 June 2018.