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The National Party board is holding an emergency board meeting tonight to discuss allegations long-standing board member Roger Bridge made a midnight call as "Merv" to Newstalk ZB about the Auckland Central selection contest.

It comes after National Party leader Judith Collins said Bridge's alleged actions and apparent attempts to undermine one candidate for the Auckland Central selection were "not what we would do, it's not something I approve of".

National Party board member Roger Bridge. Photo / Supplied
National Party board member Roger Bridge. Photo / Supplied

However, Collins said it was a matter for the party's board to deal with – not herself as the leader of the parliamentary wing. She told RNZ the board was meeting today to discuss it, but she did not believe it was of any interest to the wider New Zealand public.

In a short statement this afternoon, Party President Peter Goodfellow said the National Party Board was aware of allegations raised about Bridge and would meet within 24 hours.

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"The Board will be meeting together as soon as possible so it can consider the matter."

The Herald understand the emergency meeting is happening tonight.

Bridge is the National Party's chair for Canterbury–Westland and a stalwart of the party.

The National Party selected Emma Mellow as its new candidate in the Auckland Central seat last night over Nuwanthie Samarakone after a contest filled with controversy.

National Party Auckland Central candidate Emma Mellow with Nuwanthie Samarakone (l) at the Auckland Central selection. Photo / Brett Phibbs
National Party Auckland Central candidate Emma Mellow with Nuwanthie Samarakone (l) at the Auckland Central selection. Photo / Brett Phibbs

"Merv" called Marcus Lush on Newstalk ZB just before midnight last Monday.

Bridge denied he was Merv when asked by Newshub, but the NZ Herald understands the call was from Bridge's phone.

In his phone call, "Merv" had claimed to be from Manurewa and said he was confused about Samarakone's bid for the Auckland Central seat because she was already the candidate for Manurewa.

He also raised a photo that had circulated of Samarakone in a leotard, which Samarakone had said was being circulated along with false rumours to try to smear her and damage her chances.

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