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New Zealand National Opposition Party in turmoil as leader demotes rival Australia / New Zealand

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WELLINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – New Zealand’s main opposition party has been plunged into turmoil and may change leaders again, continuing a period of instability that has helped bolster support for the Prime Minister’s ruling Labor Party Jacinda Ardern.

Current National Party leader Judith Collins demoted former leader Simon Bridges and relieved him of all his shadow portfolios Wednesday, November 24, citing his allegations of “harassment and intimidation” of a colleague there. has several years.

On Thursday morning, Mr Bridges called the move “desperate” and said Ms Collins “would do everything possible to maintain her leadership”.

The stoush is setting the stage for a possible leadership vote by National’s caucus on Thursday, continuing ruminations at the top of the party dating back to Mr Bridges’ ousting from the leadership in May of last year.

He was replaced by Mr. Todd Muller, who held the position for less than two months before Ms. Collins took over in July 2020.

National suffered a heavy defeat in the 2020 election and continued to vote poorly under Ms Collins. This has sparked speculation that Mr Bridges will attempt to reclaim leadership at some point before the next election, scheduled for 2023.

In a statement Wednesday evening, Ms Collins said she had been made aware of a serious complaint against Mr Bridges which demanded a swift and decisive response.

“The case concerns comments Mr. Bridges made to a caucus colleague at a reception several years ago,” Collins said. “Having been made aware of the seriousness of the complaint for the first time and the continuing distress it has caused the Complainant, I had no choice but to immediately demote Simon Bridges and relieve him of his portfolio responsibilities. . “

“Under my leadership, the National Party will not tolerate harassment and intimidation from anyone,” she said.