National’s Deputy Leader Criticizes Former Minister’s Meeting with Rival Candidate


Nicola Willis, the Deputy National leader, has voiced her disapproval concerning a recent meeting between former National minister Paula Bennett and Act deputy Brooke van Velden. This rendezvous, Willis asserts, was far from beneficial, particularly with van Velden being in direct competition with National’s candidate in Tāmaki.

To articulate her perspective, Willis said, “Paula Bennett is not my responsibility. I am of the opinion that our candidate Simon O’Connor, being a diligent local MP, didn’t benefit from this meeting.” She emphasized her belief in O’Connor’s ability to win the electoral race, based on current public polling results that show him in the lead.

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“I am confident that O’Connor has demonstrated his dedication to the locals by consistently working hard for them,” Willis highlighted. “He understands the businesses and communities because he is actively engaged on the ground.”

Despite the friction, Willis expressed no desire to confront Bennett about her actions. “Bennett exited the parliament some time ago,” she explained. “I have no authority over her. She is free to make her own decisions.”

Following the controversial meeting, van Velden posted a photograph on social media of her and Bennett enjoying a cup of coffee, further adding to the public discussion around their meeting.

In another electoral update, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and National leader Christopher Luxon have taken issue with the Electoral Commission, as they claim an estimated 1.4 million New Zealanders have yet to receive their easy vote cards. The Electoral Commission claims to have more than 3.4 million EasyVote packs in transit to voters, with approximately 2 million already delivered. The rest are expected to arrive over the next few days.

Hipkins criticized the Commission’s delay in saying voters should have had their cards before the voting process commenced. Meanwhile, Luxon expressed his disappointment at the Electoral Commission’s slow dispatch of EasyVote packs.

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