Simon Bridges will give his first economic speech as National Party leader in Auckland on Monday in which rising fuel taxes are likely to feature.

He will then go to Taranaki to talk to the oil and gas sector which is still reeling from the Government's abrupt ban on new oil and gas exploration.

Later in the week he will begin a national tour with plans to hold over 50 town hall-style meetings which will be advertised on hundreds of election-style billboards.

Bridges said his speech will criticise the current Government's interventionist style, saying if policy settings provided certainty to business, they could be left alone to grow with confidence.


"If you manage the books well, you don't need new taxes in a growing economy like we've got," he told the Herald.

"We should be respecting taxpayers money the way we respect our own and if you do all of that, you can let New Zealanders keep more of their hard earned cash."

The Government is proposing a hike in fuel excise of 9c to 12 c a litre - National raised it an average of 1.8c a year.

It is set to pass legislation allowing Auckland to set a regional fuel tax that will cost motorists 11.5c more a litre in order to fund some of the $28 billion planned for transport projects over 10 years.

The extra cost for an average driver in Auckland driving the average distance in average car is about $240 a year, but will be a lot more for motorists and businesses that do a lot of driving.

Bridges has taken the past week off for a holiday with his young family in the parliamentary recess.

Parliament will resume this week is what will be Bridges second session as leader since his election in late February.

Coromandel MP Scott Simpson erects a billboard ahead of the Bridges town-hall tour.
Coromandel MP Scott Simpson erects a billboard ahead of the Bridges town-hall tour.

Polling suggests that National's support has held up since the election seven months ago – and remains the most popular party.


But Bridges is not seen as an alternative Prime Minister, being preferred by 10 per cent compared to the incumbent Jacinda Ardern's 37 per cent in the latest 1News Colmar Brunton poll.

Ardern has not been in Parliament since she announced the ban on April 12, ahead of her trip to Europe, and the ban is likely to be a focus of National's attack in the House this week.

Bridges said he would be going to listen to oil and gas sector in Taranaki and show solidarity. He reiterated that National's position was to reverse the ban.

He said his nationwide tour begins this week with public meetings in Thames, Whitianga, Paeroa, Matamata and Morrinsville.

He said he wanted to let New Zealanders get to know him better and to genuinely listen to them.

"I am very strong on us learning from what I perceive Labour got wrong – that they didn't do enough of this and so now they are now into the working groups.

"We want to get out and have genuine engagement…then be able to go away in the next couple of years and come up with strong alternative policies so if we have the privilege of becoming the Government in 2020 we can hit the ground running."