Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's biggest weakness is "everything that is around her", wasting years in opposition and her unusual rise to power, according to new National Party Leader Simon Bridges.

The new opposition leader said he was aiming to surprise in his new role as National's leader after clinching the position following a caucus vote on Tuesday.

Paula Bennett has retained the deputy's role.

Bridges took little time to point out "weaknesses" in Ardern and the Labour-led Government.

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"Her weakness fundamentally ... is everything that is around her. It's the unusual circumstances in which she came to be Government.

"It's not just a Jacinda Ardern Government, she's the Jacinda Ardern, Green Party, Winston Peters Government. That makes it have a lack of cohesion," he told Newstalk ZB on Tuesday.

The 41-year-old claimed Labour had wasted nine years in opposition.

"They did not do the hard years in term of developing policies for the future, we are not going to make that mistake."

Bridges said he had new ideas and aspirational policies to put to the country in the 2020 election.

"I'm really excited at the opportunity I've got and the level of support I've got."

The revised direction for the party was to firstly hold the Government to account as well as modernising policy settings.

"We are known as the best economic managers, people who provided a very good strong legacy for New Zealand's economy."

Bridges also planned to utilise the 56 MP's representing the party, most of who were electorate MPs.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern's biggest weakness was the unusual circumstances in which she came to be in Government, according to new National Party leader Simon Bridges. Photo / Doug Sherring
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern's biggest weakness was the unusual circumstances in which she came to be in Government, according to new National Party leader Simon Bridges. Photo / Doug Sherring

"Get amongst people and to be engaging, listening and developing those policies.

"We have to make sure our 56 MPs are out there rooted in their communities, telling us what people are thinking.

"I think in that regard we can win."

Bridges said National was still the party it had been for a long time and still held the same values.

"We are the party that says have a strong economy so that there is opportunities for New Zealanders to get ahead."

His criticism of the current Government was that it was "good intentions and fine words" but not much action and at best "treading water".

He also took aim at Justice Minister Andrew Little's changes to criminal justice reform.

"I don't think that is what New Zealanders want to see. I think that would be bad policy that makes our communities less safe."

Minister of Justice Andrew Little had laid out a vision for criminal justice reform which sees sentencing law relaxed and a rejection of "tough on crime"-style politics.

Bridges said he was still open to working with New Zealand First but it was up to them to decide what they would do.

National was also happy to work with "a genuine environmental party" as environmentalism was what New Zealanders wanted, but the Green Party was not that.

"What this Green Party has added on is a lot of politically correct stuff, a lot of side issues that don't go to the core of what they should be about."

The National party reshuffle planned in two weeks time included Judith Collins and Stephen Joyce.

"Yes there will be a place for them. These are people that are talented, who have experience, we need that in our caucus."

Keeping experience in the party was important, but bringing new talent was also important.