The man who might be able to resurrect the National Party from its leadership woes has acknowledged how tough leader Simon Bridges has it.
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller has officially confirmed he is going for the top job. Whether he gets it or not will be known tomorrow at an emergency meeting.
Muller has only spoken once publicly this week, on Tuesday, to NZME's The Country radio host Jamie Mackay.
Asked directly whether he would be throwing his hat into the ring for a leadership stoush the MP was quick to answer, albeit with a sigh in the mix.
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"No. Simon is doing a bloody tough job - well, in my opinion," he said.
"Leader of the opposition is always a tough job - everyone knows that - but particularly at a time of a national crisis when the Government has been focused quite effectively on seeing us through the health aspects of it."
Despite Muller denying he would be going after Bridges' role, things changed yesterday when he formally confirmed he would be going for the top job via an email to his National Party colleagues.
It is thought MP Nikki Kaye will be challenging the role of deputy, held by Paula Bennett.
National Party MPs are due to meet at an emergency meeting tomorrow, in Wellington, when it is expected they will vote for leadership.
The big moves and tomorrow's meeting come days after the first public poll since the Covid-19 crisis took hold revealed the National Party had dropped to 30 per cent in a Newshub Reid Research poll.
Labour, on the other hand, had shot up to 56.5 per cent under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's leadership through the emergency.
Ardern also topped the preferred Prime Minister results, coming in at 59.5 per cent - up 20.8 per cent on the last poll and the highest scored by a PM in the poll's history.