Collins: National has gone too far left

Audrey Young, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Saturday, 17 February 2018, 11:11AM
Judith Collins (Getty Images)
Judith Collins (Getty Images)

Leadership hopeful Judith Collins says National has gone too far to the left and it is time to "straighten up."

And asked about the other two contenders for the National leadership, she said Amy Adams was more to the left than Simon Bridges.

But she would not speculate on whether that meant her supporters in the caucus would be more likely to back Bridges if she was the first to drop out after the first ballot.

The three contenders declared on Wednesday following Bill English's resignation announcement on Tuesday.

While most MPs in the caucus of 56 have not publicly declared who they will support, Collins as the outsider will be running more of a public campaign to encourage supporters in the party and the public to lobby their MPs for her.

"What I know is that there is a tremendous amount of support out there for what I stand for," she told the Weekend Herald.

"And a lot of people feel that we as a party have gone a long way to the left and we need to straighten up again."

She said she had strong support among the grass roots and National Party base.

"I think you can also say that I am not the conventional or the status quo candidate and so I have to work differently from those who would continue pretty much the same old policies and same old ways of doing things."

In questions put to all three candidates by the Herald, Collins cited the Resource Management Act as the first policy that needed to be reviewed.

Referring to the iwi participation agreement she said: "The changes we made to accommodate the Maori Party unfortunately overshadowed some of the excellent changes that we tried to make."

Collins is keen for the contest to run through to a vote on February 27 rather than have any managed outcome.

"Some in the media and other candidates may want to have everything over very soon. I have no wish to do anything other than what we agreed to do."

Bridges rejected Collins' implication that he was a "status quo" candidate, and not just because he was the youngest at 41. But he wanted to modernise policy for 2020.

"To date in Opposition, we have been focused on what we have done in the past. I want to make sure we are really thinking about focusing on what we are going to do in the future."

He wanted National to put emphasis on environment policy.

Adams said she did not want to identify policy areas that needed reviewing.

"Having won the support of nearly half of all voters at the election it is important we hang on to that support and find the aspects where we can do better to connect with the aspirations of more Kiwis.

"The details of that is something we are discussing as a caucus, and as leader I wouldn't simply impose my view but would seek to guide our caucus through those deliberations."

However of the three candidates, the professed social liberal is the only one that doesn't outright oppose David Seymour's euthanasia bill and wants the issue considered.

"Four years ago I sat by my mother's beside and watched her die a gruesome and undignified death. While she had access to all the medication and nursing care you could ever want, she wanted the right to choose her own time."

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