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PM Jacinda Ardern on Todd Muller resignation: 'Politics is a difficult place'

Todd Muller replaced Simon Bridges as National Party leader in May. Today he resigned. He cited health reasons, and commentators including PM Jacinda Ardern have said politics was a hard job.

The first National billboard for the 2020 election in central Napier. Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

Muller said the role has taken a "heavy toll on me personally, and on my family, and this has become untenable from a health perspective".

Bridges took over from Bill English as leader in February 2018.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has passed her best wishes on to Muller and his family.

"No matter what side of Parliament you're sitting, politics is a difficult place," she said.

Massey University professor and political commentator Claire Robinson said he was naive.

"I think it shows how completely unprepared he was for the role. He obviously thought he was God's gift to the National Party and taking over from Simon Bridges ... and I think he thought it was going to be so easy simply to role out a whole lot of new policies under his leadership and everybody would think: 'Oh good, everything is okay now'."

Many social commentators said Muller's health was visibly declining.

I don't believe politics has to be as brutal as it is. It shouldn't be a blood sport. We need leaders with courage and integrity. In my experience, when you tell the truth your heartrate goes down, not up. https://t.co/4wZOlPs66b

— Sacha Coburn (@SachaCoburn) July 13, 2020

I think there's a big lesson that National has still not learned. They need to cooperative when it comes to the response to Covid. Contrarianism is not currently a vote winner, guys.

— Nathan Simms (@5WinstonSmith5) July 13, 2020

Todd Muller was too nice for politics! That’s why cold hearted assassins like *checks notes* Jacinda Ardern are Prime Minister

— James Macbeth Dann (@edmuzik) July 13, 2020

I can’t reconcile the Todd Muller who has worked so carefully to meet so many people ahead of becoming leader -just resigning? #nzpol either it’s a seriously dysfunctional & hostile caucus, more to come? -just never let me hear anyone call women ‘part-time’ leaders again

— Bronwyn Hayward (@BMHayward) July 13, 2020

I feel sorry for Todd Muller. Brutal game.

— Neale Jones (@nealejones) July 13, 2020

The resignation of Todd Muller points to how difficult politics and public life is. Important people recognise and be with that (no matter Your taste) these people step up because they want the best for NZ and I am grateful for that.

— Richard Pamatatau (@RPamatatau) July 13, 2020

Respect to Todd Muller for stepping down in order to maintain health and family as his priorities. Whatever political side of the fence we sit, I think we need to just recognise the human behind the media character and applaud a call which would have been difficult and humbling.

— Dave Grant (@_DaveGrant) July 13, 2020

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