Simon Bridges' Tauranga supporters are standing strong behind the National Party leader after recent allegations from "rogue" MP Jami-Lee Ross.

Ross has made claims that Bridges asked him to collect a $100,000 donation which was then split into smaller amounts to allegedly "hide it".

But Tauranga barrister and National Party supporter Rita Nabney said she was in disbelief about the allegations and said the claims were "totally baseless".

Nabney said she had known Bridges for many years and she was "100 per cent" still behind him.


"Simon has high principles and high morals, it's quite shocking someone would even make these allegations at all," she said.

Nabney was confident Bridges' local Tauranga supporters would be backing him as well.

"Simon's local supporters have been behind him for many years and I'm confident they will continue to do that."

National Party supporter Diane Sorensen said she was "totally and absolutely" still backing Bridges.

"I know him and I trust him," she said.

National Party supporter Diane Sorenson is backing Bridges. Photo / File
National Party supporter Diane Sorenson is backing Bridges. Photo / File

Ron Scott, chairman of Bridges' Tauranga electoral office, said Bridges was known as an honest, values-driven person and they had welcomed his appointment as leader of the party.

"Leadership of any Opposition is a tough job and we know Simon to have that toughness."

Scott said Ross may have been ambitions beyond his capabilities when compared to his colleagues in Parliament. "Simon had to give him some tough messages and Mr Ross did not come to terms with that view."


Local party members supported Bridges 100 per cent, Scott said.

"He makes not only a very strong, and incisive Leader of the National Party but also will be a caring and decisive Prime Minister backed by a team of very capable and focused ministers."

The deputy chairman of the Tauranga Central National Party Committee, Moses Anderson, said Bridges had his "full support and backing".

However, when speaking to local residents on the streets of Tauranga there were mixed views as to whether or not Bridges was still fit to be leader.

Tauranga resident Cliff Kingston had supported the party in the past but said it was difficult to say whether Bridges should stay on as leader.

Kingston said one person had stood up and made allegations against Bridges and he was "innocent until proven guilty".

One National Party supporter, who did not want to be named, said she had lost confidence in Bridges' leadership.

"I don't think he [Bridges] should have been the leader in the first place, so I have lost what little confidence I had in him."

She said Judith Collins needed to replace Bridges.

"She's got more charisma, she doesn't waffle, she says what she means and she's experienced."

A man who was not a National Party supporter strongly believed Bridges should step down.

"I don't think he's competent."

Meanwhile, Bridges has said there was "nothing inappropriate" about $24,000 worth of donations wrongfully recorded as donations for him when they were actually for the party.

Between 2016 and 2017 Bridges received two donations totalling $24,000. One was worth $14,000 from Tauranga-based healthcare business Cubro Ltd.

But according to a National Party spokesman the donations were for the party, not Bridges.

"In the process of preparing both the local candidate and party returns, as required by the Electoral Act, two donations were incorrectly attributed to Mr Bridges' candidate return by the local Tauranga Electorate Committee," the spokesman said.

A Cubro spokeswoman confirmed to the Bay of Plenty Times that a donation was made in 2016 to the National Party, and not an individual.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said it was common for returns to be amended shortly before or after the deadline for filing candidate and party returns.

The commission received more than 60 amended candidate returns for the 2017 general election.

The spokesperson said there could be a range of reasons why a candidate or party return might need to be amended.

"For example, candidates sometimes include donations in their returns that are in fact party donations or need to amend the amounts apportioned between the candidate and party for election expenses."

National supporters react

"Simon has high principles and high morals, it's quite shocking someone would even make these allegations at all."

Rita Nabney

"I know him and I trust him."

Diane Sorenson

"He's innocent until proven guilty."

Cliff Kingston

"Simon has my full support and backing."

Moses Anderson