Jessica Mutch McKay: Simon Bridges challenges leadership rivals to 'put up or shut up'

Any hopes of a clean, tidy and private leadership discussion within the National Party have gone out the window with Simon Bridges revealing on Breakfast that two people will challenge for the leader and deputy leader roles when caucus meets on Tuesday.

He’s scrapping and hopes this chess move will pay off with his and Paula Bennett's leadership then off the agenda for the next four months.

Mr Bridges said now the country can focus on getting the economy back on track.

Otherwise, National will emerge on Tuesday with a new leader.

It’s a political manoeuvre, calling out his challengers - including Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye - to put up or shut up and he told Breakfast he’s confident he can win.

In recent times the party has prided itself on having clean and swift leadership changes, but Bridges coming out this morning marks Tuesday on the calendar for the showdown.

He’s faced criticism over his handling of the Covid-19 crisis - struggling to find a voice - and when he did, being criticised for his tone and judgement. The latest polling from Reid Research has been a big blow too.

The Prime Minister has had daily media exposure throughout the last two months, now the spotlight is on the National Party – but perhaps not in the manner they had in mind.