Simon Bridges has landed National’s coveted finance portfolio and will be third in the party’s line up, new leader Christopher Luxon announced in Tauranga today.
Bridges was unable to be at the media conference as his son had an accident at school and was in hospital.
He'll be the party's finance and infrastructure spokesperson, due to his "prodigious skills, incredible talent and the intellectual heft", Luxon said.
"Simon will play a central and critical role in our leadership team, and he and I will work closely together."
He said Bridges would be an "exceptional Finance and Infrastructure Minister", should National win the 2023 election.
"It’s also critical that we reset New Zealand’s approach to infrastructure and take a genuine long-term, intergenerational view," Luxon said.
"We need an overarching vision for New Zealand’s infrastructure and new funding and financing mechanisms that can drive us into the coming decades."
Just one week ago, Bridges had his justice, water and Māori-Crown relations portfolios stripped after a late-night press release by then-leader Judith Collins that ultimately saw her voted out as leader.
Bridges spent part of last Thursday afternoon explaining to media the content of an inappropriate comment he made five years ago around conception.
A leadership contest was sparked, with Bridges bowing out hours before the vote, leaving the role uncontested for Luxon.
When Bridges was rolled by Todd Muller in 2020, it was understood he had asked for the foreign affairs portfolio under Muller but was offered justice. Just over a week later, Bridges was given the foreign affairs portfolio. He then was made justice spokesperson under Collins.
Asked about Todd Muller and Judith Collins, Luxon said everyone would have roles.