Simon Bridges makes his valedictory speech

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges. Photo: Supplied.

Watch live as MP for Tauranga Simon Bridges makes his valedictory speech at Parliament at 5.40pm on Wednesday May 4.

Simon has served as Leader of the National Party and Leader of the Opposition between 2018 and 2020, and has been the Member of Parliament for Tauranga since the 2008 election.

A valedictory speech is a speech of farewell, where a Member of Parliament often thanks their supporters, talks about what they've achieved, or in some cases haven't achieved but wish they had.  Some talk about what should be done in the future, and may also reflect back on lessons learned from the past.

Watch the (now finished) broadcast here:

Simon has served in several Cabinet positions, including Minister of Transport (2014–2017) and Minister of Economic Development (2016–2017). He took the role of Leader of the House from May to October 2017.

On February 27 2019 Simon was elected as National Party leader, succeeding former Prime Minister Bill English, who resigned.

Simon was the first person with Māori ancestry to serve as leader of a major party in New Zealand.

Following poor polling for the National Party Simon was challenged for the party leadership in May 2020 and replaced by Todd Muller, who relinquished the leadership less than two months later.

In November 2021, actions by Judith Collins resulted in a successful vote of no-confidence in her leadership by the National Party caucus, with a leadership election following. Simon had intended to contest the election, but withdrew on the day of the vote and endorsed Christopher Luxon.

Simon announced his retirement from politics in March 2022, triggering a by-election in Tauranga which is being held on June 18.

Simon Bridges' maiden speech in December 2008:




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