I can both confirm and deny

In a twist on the normal ‘I can neither confirm nor deny’ ploy, National Party leader Simon Bridges seems to want to both deny and confirm the rumours swirling around parliamentary circles about a deal with Alfred Ngaro.

On Friday Bridges was distancing himself from it all – nothing to see here folks, move along. Curiously, also on Friday, backbench National MPs were openly talking about the possibility of a National deal with Ngaro and Botany in public.

Why does it seem that the default position of a man who wants the electorate to trust him is to lie? It has happened time and time again, and when the truth eventually comes out it is not a good look. Quote.

National leader Simon Bridges has confirmed he’s talked with MP Alfred Ngaro about the establishment of a “values-based, religious party”.

Bridges says it’s an “alluring idea” and he’s giving Ngaro, a former National party minister, “space” to explore the idea.

But he’s being vague on who is behind the nascent party, and sending mixed messages on whether there will be an electorate deal.

“I am not setting up a religious party…I don’t think I’m giving him support or not, I’m just giving him space,” Bridges said.

“This is an alluring idea but we are under no illusions about how hard this will be.”

On Friday, the party’s MPs and official spokespeople were dismissing the idea as rumour and speculation.

Bridges says Ngaro was approached by “some people” in the last few months. He claims not to know who they are.

Speaking at a regional party conference in Lower Hutt, he denied reports National would give Ngaro a clear run in Auckland’s Botany electorate, where he’d square-off against rogue MP Jami-Lee Ross.

And although he says he’s “not interested” in Epsom-style deals, Bridges wouldn’t rule them out entirely. The party will make its position clear on which parties it will work with closer to the election.

“Look, I am not interested in electorate deals, that is certainly not something I have canvassed with Alfred or anyone else…

“I can confirm to you I have not done any deals, I have not talked about any deals and actually I am pretty unlikely to want to get into that.” End quote.

Which sort of ‘deny’ is this, Bridges? Is it the ‘deny’ that you told people early this year you would let the possible new teal green Sustainable party’s Vernon Tava have a seat if Tava could get to 2% in the polls?

Is it the ‘deny’ that a deal could be done in Botany with Ngaro now that Ross has been shafted? Quote.

If National didn’t give former pastor Ngaro’s party a leg-up, it would have to score five per cent of the party vote. Ngaro has been an MP since 2011, but never won a seat.

Bridges says he spoke to Ngaro once about the fledgling party. He wouldn’t be drawn on whether the post-Christchurch political environment was the right time to be launching a party hinged on religious values.

“I’ve simply said to them ‘ok let me know how you get on’. We haven’t had other conversations on this… […] End quote.



An “ok” as you passed in a corridor; a “could be interesting – let me know” when your backbenchers are publicly telling people about the potential move?


If you don’t know what is going on in your own caucus how can you possibly remain as leader? It seems from what you say, Simon, that you may be out of touch and things are happening despite you.

As leader they should be happening because of you.