In the same way that the customer is always right, the voter is always right, and in this case, as voters, the caucus is always right.

If anyone is wondering why Simon Bridges beat more famous and experienced party hands in Judith Collins, Steven Joyce and Amy Adams for the National Party leadership, they will have to trust the judgment of the caucus.

The caucus are the people who work closely with their colleagues out of the limelight, know their skills, know their ability to work with others and know whether to trust their political judgment.

When decisions are taken out of the hands of people who know them best, as Labour showed, accidents can occur.

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Bridges has made an impressive start. He has already shown one outstanding skill – the ability to organise a successful campaign against arguably the best campaigner the modern party has produced, Joyce.

Simon Bridges built up friendships and loyalties in the caucus over the years that he was able to call on when it counted. Photo / Stuart Munro
Simon Bridges built up friendships and loyalties in the caucus over the years that he was able to call on when it counted. Photo / Stuart Munro

In fact Bridges' campaign has been on a long slow simmer for years. He has never made a secret of his ambition.

He has a natural charm. He is down to earth but highly educated – perhaps the most educated leader National has had, with an Oxford law degree.

He has built up friendships and loyalties in the caucus over the years that he was able to call on when it counted - and the vote among the others was split.

Bridges is also slick. In fact "Slick" is his nickname, in honour of the oil exploration he encouraged as energy minister rather that shiny hair product he favours.

He is a slick performer too. He did well at his first press conference as leader. He may not have been electrifying in the way Jacinda Ardern was, but he did not make any mistakes.

Bridges' first Question Time against Ardern was a more rambunctious affair than it has been with Bill English. His target was New Zealand First's so-called $3 billion "slush fund" for the provinces.

But Ardern got more fired up as well and gave as good as she got from him. The new job may have brought out the best in him but he seemed to have brought out the best in her.

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Winning was the easy part for Bridges. The hard part is how to harness the talents of his opponents and their supporters whose private disappointment could act as a brake on his new energy.

It will be one of the most challenging reshuffles. Jim McLay, the only National leader not to face an election, was undermined from the beginning of his leadership because of the fallout from his first reshuffle.

While the caucus is always right at the time, it always reserves the right to be wrong later.