Simon Bridges is pitching himself as the leader of generational change and fresh new ideas in putting up his hand for National Party leader.

Bridges joined Judith Collins in officially entering the leadership race, but also stressed his admiration for Collins and others considered in contention, including Amy Adams, who is expected to declare her intentions this afternoon.

"I offer the right blend of generational change, but also experience," Bridges said. "I'm 41. I have a young family. But I've held a raft of senior portfolios from energy, labour, transport and economic development, to communications and others besides.

"All of that gives me the experience, the acumen, and the drive to do this job very well."


He said other MPs had encouraged him to put his name forward, and though he could not say whether he had the numbers to win, he had "strong support".

The leadership is decided by caucus votes, and Bridges appeared to make an appeal to backbenchers, as well as try to appease the older MPs in the caucus.

"We do need to renew and refresh, and that means in policy terms and also in terms of our people, blending the experience we've got but also the bundles of talent that we have in the National caucus and ensuring that continues to come through."

He wanted to be an inclusive and open leader.

"My colleagues know I have a collegial approach, an open approach, that I listen to them, I chair things well, and try and find the common ground where we can. That is the leadership I would want to bring internally within the National Party.

"This is the party of Judith Collins. This is the party of Nikki Kaye. And we need those views and as leader I would want to make sure that we have those there, well represented in the leadership [and] throughout the caucus."

He said 2020 was more than about just beating Jacinda Ardern, but also about challenging the Government's agenda and presenting what National can offer.

He agreed with Collins' assessment that the Government was "virtue signalling" and full of rhetoric, but had "very little hard policy substance".

"It's ultimately direction, and it's about making sure we have a prosperous, upbeat, aspirational New Zealand."

He said Labour lacked a strong plan when it was in Opposition for nine years and he didn't want National to make the same mistake.

However, he did not want to talk about where he would take the party if he was the leader: "I just don't think today is the day for that."

He said being Maori could be an advantage in having broader appeal.

"I understand my whakapapa. As a minister, professionally, I've spent a lot of time with iwi. My first three years in Parliament I was in the Maori Affairs select committee.

"I hope I can be a drawcard to Maori, and to a wide cross-section of New Zealanders."

Asked about weaknesses, he said he was sometimes too earnest.

Bridges said he wasn't running on a leader/deputy leader ticket, but heaped praise on other possible leadership contenders.

He said he had the highest regard for Amy Adams.

"She's an exceptional person and MP. She has a lot of acumen. Whatever happens, I look forward to working with her."

He described Collins as a "star".

"She's a great person who brings a lot to caucus, and whatever happens, you'd want to have her in your line-up because she speaks to a lot of New Zealanders, she has great values, and an authenticity that New Zealanders like."

He added: "I'm pretty excited about this. I'm very upbeat. I'm looking forward to the next two weeks."