Summary Judith Collins is set to face an angry National caucus meeting this morning and a possible leadership challenge after she demoted Simon Bridges last night over a comment to fellow MP Jacqui Dean five years ago. Bridges called Collins’ decision a “desperate act” and his supporter Simon O’Connor called on Collins to resign. 

Collins torches Bridges National leader Judith Collins unleashed a firestorm in her own caucus last night by demoting her main rival Simon Bridges from all his portfolio roles over comments he made five years ago to fellow National MP Jacqui Dean. Bridges and his caucus supporters were blindsided by Collins’ statement sent to media after 9pm, which described Bridges’ comments as “serious misconduct” and that she had just learned about it.

Caucus in uproar Bridges’ supporter Mark Mitchell told Newshub he expected the caucus to meet this morning and Collins’ statement was “deeply disrespectful” to the caucus because it had not been consulted and he would not rule out a leadership challenge against Collins this morning. Various media reported the incident with Dean related to a gathering of Bridges, Jami-Lee Ross and Todd McClay in which Bridges made a comment as Dean passed by. 

‘A stitch up’ Some unnamed National MPs were cited as saying the allegation was a “stitch up” and a desperate attempt by Collins to save her leadership. A poll last week found Collins was twice as unpopular with voters as Bridges and both were behind rookie MP and former Air NZ CEO Chris Luxon as preferred PM. “A delighted @jacindaardern and @NZClarke would like to thank the National Party for their very thoughtful wedding present. It exceeded their most optimistic expectations,” said former National party pollster David Farrar.

‘Desperate last act’ Bridges told media outside Parliament this morning: “What we saw yesterday was truly desperate stuff from Judith Collins,” he said. National MP Simon O’Connor, who is also Bridges’ brother-in-law, said Collins should resign and he had resigned his portfolio because he could not work with her anymore. Political commentator Matthew Hooton said Collins would be “gone by morning tea”.

Tax hike for social insurance? The Labour government would soon propose a social unemployment insurance scheme to pay newly unemployed people 80% of their income for limited period, which would be funded by an ACC-style levy of 1-2% on employees and a similar amount for employers, the NZ Herald reported this morning.

Plenty of inflation and jobs US jobless claims and personal consumption expenditure data released overnight showed the jobs market there was the healthiest in decades, but that inflation was also at its highest levels since the 1990s. US stocks wobbled around yesterday’s closing levels and longer term interest rates nudged slightly higher. US markets are quieter with no trading tonight because of Thanksgiving and a half-day on Friday night.

Elsewhere overnight in global markets, corporate news and economic news: 

  • The NZ dollar fell to a three-month low of 68.50 US cents in the wake of yesterday’s 25 basis point rate hike here, which was less than some expected, and ongoing strength in the US dollar on talk of faster US rate hikes next year.
  • Germany agreed a new coalition government including the centre-right party previously led by Angela Merkel, the libertarian Free Democrats party and the Green Party.
  • A Chinese monetary policy committee member suggested China may need to stimulate activity to escape “stagflationary” pressures evident in the current quarter.

From BusinessDesk’s correspondents today: 

  • Dan Brunskill reports on Serko’s plans to raise capital for an acquisition to lift revenue over $100m/year.
  • Nikitin Sallee reports the govt’s Three Waters ad campaign was cut short after a Public Service Commission rebuke.
  • Peter Griffin dives into the Web3 next version of the Internet to untangle the hype from the real meaning in his weekly column.

In case you missed it from yesterday:

  • The government announced vaccinated New Zealanders could come home from Australia without having to stay in MIQ from Jan 17 and from Feb 14 from elsewhere. Tourists can’t come and avoid MIQ until after April 30, which disappointed the tourism sector.
  • Legislation to create protection for employers to impose their own vaccination mandates with vaccine certificates was passed into law under urgency last night.

Latest NZX data (market currently closed)

Wed, 01 Dec 2021 05:01 pm
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Synlait $0.180 5.62 %
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Just Life Group $0.030 3.66 %
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AMP $-0.080 -7.21 %
ArborGen Holdings $-0.015 -5.88 %
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Asset Plus $-0.015 -4.76 %