National MP says politics 'tough' but doesn't excuse sexism, bullying

Source: Local Democracy Reporting

The National Party's Nicola Grigg has assured that there will be greater cohesion as the party aims to regain its political fortunes.

National Party MP Nicola Grigg and Judith Collins talk to Federated Farmers' Mid Canterbury president David Clark during a visit to the Mid Canterbury region back in July.

Adam Burns, Local Democracy Reporter

But the first-term MP and party spokesperson for women did not shy away from taking a stand against "sexual harassment and bullying" following a chaotic few days for the opposition.

Judith Collins was relieved of the leadership of the National Party when she was rolled by her caucus on Thursday, less than 24 hours after she demoted former leader Simon Bridges due to historic misconduct allegations.

The allegations centre around an incident at a function back in 2016 involving Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean.

Grigg would not be drawn on the leadership race but acknowledged the contribution of of her outsed leader.

"To her credit, she took on the leadership at an incredibly difficult time in the party's history," she said.

"She's done some positive work and I think that needs to be remembered."

Collins issued a statement on Wednesday night, confirming that Bridges had been discarded from his portfolio obligations.

She said that the party would not tolerate harassment and intimidation of any person.

Grigg said that she believed there were appropriate procedures in place for politicians in response to questions around the environment for female MPs.

"I haven't seen it myself and haven't experienced it myself but if and when I ever did I would call it out," she said.

"We all go into this understanding politics is a 'tough environment' but equally that does not excuse any form of sexism, bullying or harassment whatsoever.

"In this instance, my colleague Jacqui Dean has experienced something that she was not comfortable with and she followed the appropriate channels which was to speak to the leader and the rest is history."

The National Party will elect a new leader on Tuesday with Bridges not ruling out at another bid of the top job.