After nine years in power, the National Party is out of government and now firmly ensconced in Opposition. The party is going through a rebuilding phase -- after the loss of former heavyweight MP Steven Joyce and former leader Bill English.
After recently getting appointed to leader of the National Party, Simon Bridges is now hard at work to work on policies that will get the party back into power come 2020.
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And that includes aligning with the country’s farming community.
Mr Bridges, who was at the Central Districts Field Days, joined Rural Exchange co-host Richard Loe to discuss issues affecting rural communities and the future of his party.
He said part of his job is to make sure New Zealanders “have a sense” of who he is, and that he’s an ally of New Zealand’s primary industries.
“We want to make sure they understand we’re friends of the farmers.
“We will be fighting for good policies in the areas that matter to them, whether it’s employment law, immigration, irrigation, overseas investment, environment climate policy,” the Opposition leader said.
When Loe asked Mr Bridges about the Manawatu Gorge highway replacement, he said he applauds the move but questions the 2024 completion date.
“I hope that they speed the processes up,” he said, explaining that the Government has the power to get the road up potentially years earlier if they wished.
“This can be seen as a nationally significant project that justifies that,” he told RadioLIVE.
Watch the full interview Simon Bridges above.