New Nats leader ‘formidable’ politician

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Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon describes his new National Party leader as a formidable politician.

New leader Judith Collins and deputy Gerry Brownlee were chosen to replace Todd Muller and Nicki Kaye last night after Mr Muller’s sudden resignation, citing health issues.
‘‘I feel for Todd and his family,’’ Mr Falloon said. ‘‘I know it would have been a hard call to make, but ultimately you need to consider your health and wellbeing. Being constantly in the public and media eye does take a toll.’’

He said that within hours of Mr Muller’s announcement yesterday morning, MPs met in Wellington and chose Mrs Collins as the new leader.

‘‘Judith is a formidable politician with extensive experience in Government. I’ve worked with her closely during this term of Parliament and in previous roles, and I know how committed she is to serving our country. You’ll see more of that over coming weeks as we outline our plan to get New Zealand working.’’

Mr Falloon said his focus would be to continue to ensure that issues in Mid Canterbury were front of mind during the election campaign.
He said he was happy to serve in whatever role the new leaders saw as appropriate, but his most important job was to serve his electorate.

He did not know yet if the new leader would be visiting Ashburton in the lead-up to the election. Her diary was being ‘‘worked through’’ in coming days.