Numbers still tight between Luxon, Bridges, 1News understands

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

The numbers are still looking tight between contenders Christopher Luxon and Simon Bridges, 1News understands, as National MPs inch towards deciding their new leader today.

The MPs are trickling into Wellington ahead of today's vote, with most reiterating lines of unity and cohesion within the party.

Others did their best to avoid the media.

The two that have put their names into the ring are former leader Bridges and first term MP and former Air NZ chief executive Luxon.

1News understands the numbers are looking tight between the pair ahead of this afternoon's caucus meeting.

Christopher Luxon

Luxon won the seat of Botany off former National MP Jami-Lee Ross at last year's election.

Luxon is publicly close with former PM Sir John Key, who referred to Luxon as a “world-class candidate” in 2019.

He grew up in Christchurch and Auckland, and previously said he was against euthanasia and abortion, however he added the views of his constituents on those issues were important.

He was CEO of Air NZ when it returned record profits, and also when the controversial Saudi deal was signed.

Luxon said in February that he had "no recollection" and was surprised to find out a business unit at the airline had helped the Saudi Arabian military by repairing engines on Saudi navy vessels.

Simon Bridges

Bridges was National's leader from February 2018 to May 2020. Has also held Cabinet positions in the past under the previous National Government.

He was a former Crown prosecutor in Tauranga, studied at Oxford and grew up in Te Atatū as one of six kids.

He has been at the centre of high-profile spats, most recently with Judith Collins over an inappropriate comment said in front of MP Jacqui Dean five years ago, also with Ross in 2018 and was rolled by Todd Muller last year.

Bridges recently wrote a book about his life and views and is a keen drummer.

On recent conscience votes, Bridges voted against abortion law reform and euthanasia.