Leader of the New Zealand National Party

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

Leader of the National Party
Simon Bridges

since 27 February 2018
Member ofNew Zealand House of Representatives
Term lengthNo fixed term
Inaugural holderAdam Hamilton
Formation2 November 1936
DeputyDeputy Leader of the National Party

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 the National Party.[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 2019, the only—female National Party Leader.[6]

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

No. Leader Portrait Electorate Term Began Term Ended Time in Office Position Prime Minister
1 Adam Hamilton Wallace 2 November 1936 26 November 1940 4 years, 24 days LO 1936–1940 Savage
2 Sidney Holland Fendalton 26 November 1940 20 September 1957 16 years, 298 days LO 1940–1949 Fraser
PM 1949–1957 Holland
3 Keith Holyoake Pahiatua 20 September 1957 7 February 1972 14 years, 140 days PM 1957 Holyoake
LO 1957–1960 Nash
PM 1960–1972 Holyoake
4 Jack Marshall Karori 7 February 1972 4 July 1974 2 years, 147 days PM 1972 Marshall
LO 1972–1974 Kirk
5 Robert Muldoon Tamaki 4 July 1974 29 November 1984 10 years, 148 days LO 1974–1975 Rowling
PM 1975–1984 Muldoon
LO 1984 Lange
6 Jim McLay Birkenhead 29 November 1984 26 March 1986 1 year, 117 days LO 1984–1986
7 Jim Bolger King Country (1972–96)
Taranaki-King Country (1996–98)
26 March 1986 8 December 1997 11 years, 257 days LO 1986–1990
PM 1990–1997 Bolger
8 Jenny Shipley Rakaia 8 December 1997 8 October 2001 3 years, 304 days PM 1997–1999 Shipley
LO 1999–2001 Clark
9 Bill English Clutha-Southland 8 October 2001 28 October 2003 2 years, 20 days LO 2001–2003
10 Don Brash List MP 28 October 2003 27 November 2006 3 years and 30 days LO 2003–2006
11 John Key Helensville 27 November 2006 12 December 2016 10 years, 15 days LO 2006–2008
PM 2008–2016 Key
(9) Bill English List MP 12 December 2016 27 February 2018 1 year, 77 days PM 2016–2017 English
LO 2017-2018 Ardern
12 Simon Bridges Tauranga 27 February 2018 Incumbent 1 year, 284 days LO 2018–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. "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.
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