Leader of the New Zealand National Party

Last updated

Leader of the National Party
Simon Bridges

since 27 February 2018
Member of New Zealand House of Representatives
Term length No fixed term
Inaugural holder Adam Hamilton
Formation2 November 1936
DeputyDeputy Leader of the National Party

The Leader of the National Party is the highest ranked politician within the New Zealand National Party. Under the constitution of the party, they are 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, who has both Pākehā (European) and Māori ancestry, [2] is the first Māori leader of the Party. [3] [4]


Following a general election, or when a vacancy arises, the Parliamentary Section of the National Party (the Caucus) elects a Leader of the Parliamentary Section (that is, the parliamentary leader). After receiving approval by the Board of Directors (the governing body of the Party), the Leader of the Parliamentary Section becomes the Leader of the Party. [5]


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". [5]

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. [6]

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 2019, the only—female National Party Leader. [7]

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

No.LeaderPortraitElectorateTerm BeganTerm EndedTime in OfficePositionPrime Minister
1 Adam Hamilton Adam Hamilton (1926).jpg Wallace 2 November 193626 November 19404 years, 24 daysLO1936–1940 Savage
2 Sidney Holland Sidney George Holland (1953) 2.png Fendalton 26 November 194020 September 195716 years, 298 daysLO1940–1949 Fraser
3 Keith Holyoake Keith Holyoake (crop).jpg Pahiatua 20 September 19577 February 197214 years, 140 daysPM1957Holyoake
LO1957–1960 Nash
4 Jack Marshall Jack Marshall, 1957.jpg Karori 7 February 19724 July 19742 years, 147 daysPM1972Marshall
LO1972–1974 Kirk
5 Robert Muldoon Muldoon 1978.jpg Tamaki 4 July 197429 November 198410 years, 148 daysLO1974–1975 Rowling
LO1984 Lange
6 Jim McLay Jim McLay (cropped).jpg Birkenhead 29 November 198426 March 19861 year, 117 daysLO1984–1986
7 Jim Bolger Bolger, 1992.jpg King Country (1972–96)
Taranaki-King Country (1996–98)
26 March 19868 December 199711 years, 257 daysLO1986–1990
8 Jenny Shipley Jenny Shipley and Winnie Laban (crop).jpg Rakaia 8 December 19978 October 20013 years, 304 daysPM1997–1999Shipley
LO1999–2001 Clark
9 Bill English Bill-English-Parliament-Profile.jpg Clutha-Southland 8 October 200128 October 20032 years, 20 daysLO2001–2003
10 Don Brash Don.Brash.jpg List MP 28 October 200327 November 20063 years and 30 daysLO2003–2006
11 John Key John Key February 2015.jpg Helensville 27 November 200612 December 201610 years, 15 daysLO2006–2008
(9) Bill English Prime Minister Bill English.jpg List MP 12 December 201627 February 20181 year, 77 daysPM2016–2017English
LO2017-2018 Ardern
12 Simon Bridges Simon-Bridges-Free-Crop.jpg Tauranga 27 February 2018Incumbent1 year, 325 daysLO2018–Present

See also

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  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. Dudding, Adam (25 September 2008). "Tauranga: you are now entering Winston country". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  3. Lynch, Jenna (27 February 2018). "Māori leaders 'proud' of new National leader Simon Bridges". Newshub. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  4. 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.
  5. 1 2 "Constitution and Rules of the New Zealand National Party" (PDF) (26th ed.). New Zealand National Party. 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2020 via New Zealand Electoral Commission.
  6. "Sidney Holland". nzhistory.govt.nz. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  7. Kenny, Katie; Walters, Laura (14 December 2016). "Line up another white male prime minister". Stuff.co.nz . Retrieved 13 June 2018.