7 Dec 2016

Another MP backs Bill English

11:41 am on 7 December 2016

Another MP has publicly thrown his support behind Deputy Prime Minister Bill English in his bid to become National Party leader.

Bill English announcing he will run for job as PM

Bill English confirming yesterday he would run for National Party leader and Prime Minister. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Mr English, Police Minister Judith Collins and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman are competing to replace departing Prime Minister John Key.

They have little under a week to persuade colleagues to support them in a caucus vote on Monday and need the backing of at least 30 of the 59 MPs.

Whanganui MP Chester Borrows said this morning there was strong support in his electorate for Mr English and that would be reflected through his vote.

Mr English now has 10 known votes.

He has been endorsed by Mr Key, and among other MPs and ministers to publicly back him are Nikki Kaye, Michael Woodhouse, Nathan Guy, Anne Tolley, Louise Upston and Hekia Parata.

MP for Rodney, Mark Mitchell, said he would consult with his electorate committee on Friday and would take its views into account when he makes his decision.

A change in Prime Minister was "really significant" for the country. "I'm listening very closely - I'm going out and seeking a lot of feedback."

He was getting messages from his constituents about the need for stability, but also for rejuvenation.

"Going in with a fresh team is going to be very important in 2017 - I think there's going to have to be a balance in there somewhere."

Hutt based list MP Chris Bishop said he too would take soundings from his constituency and was receiving a large number of emails, texts and phone calls.

But the National Party had a strong tradition that the people who should decide the leader were the people who will be led by that leader, he said.

"At the end of the day that's the 59 of us in the caucus; we're the people who know the contenders best and their leadership styles and we have to be led by them and we've got to have absolute confidence that we can place our faith in them," he said.

"We're not the Labour Party, we don't have a process where the leadership of the party is dictated by, or at least voted on, by members and by affiliated unions.

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