Judith Collins: I'm not interested in National leadership

Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 12 February 2019, 3:06p.m.
Judith Collins says she is not interested in usupring Simon Bridges as leader. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Senior National MP Judith Collins is dismissing any talk of challenging for the party leadership, despite jumping ahead of party leader Simon Bridges for preferred Prime Minister in the latest political poll.

National fell below Labour in yesterday's Newshub Reid Research poll, which had National on 41.6 per cent and Labour on 47.5 per cent.

In the preferred prime minister stakes, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was on 41.8 per cent while Bridges was on 5 per cent (down 3.9 per cent).

Collins was ahead of Bridges on 6.2 per cent (up 2.5 per cent).

NZ First leader Winston Peters did not feature in the preferred prime minister stakes.

This morning Collins, who unsuccessfully ran for the party leadership when Bill English stepped down last year, said Opposition leader was the toughest job in politics and a role she was "not even interested" in.

"The person I'm most pleased with beating is Winston Peters," she told reporters.

"Opposition leader is the toughest job in politics. It's a very tough job ... I'm a lovely, sweet person, not given to that sort of toughness at all. I'm just sometimes resolute."

Collins told Larry Williams that she is currently focused on doing her job and is not paying attention to the results of one poll 18 months from an election. 

If she would ever run, Collins says she always does what is asked of her by her caucus. 

"I just do my job. I'm not involved in anything other than doing my job." 

Collins says that she and Simon work very well together.

"We all need to stay focused on the end-game here, and the end-game is a better government for New Zealand."

She says that it is just "one poll" and that what she has heard from the public is that people are disappointed with how some of the Government's decisions. 

Collins refused to comment on National's internal polling. 

Bridges said he had no concerns about Collins polling higher than him, or about whether she had caucus support for a leadership challenge.

"We've got a caucus that's strong, that's united, and that has 55 leaders ... I'm very confident and comfortable in my leadership."

He said some his low polling was due to having to deal with the explosive fallout with former National MP Jami-Lee Ross.

Bridges repeated that he did not think the party had done anything wrong.

"I'm incredibly confident about that. As I said at the time, it's a baseless, scurrilous accusation."

Rodney MP Mark Mitchell, who also ran unsuccessfully for the leadership last year, said Bridges was doing a great job and the preferred PM poll result was not worthy of attention.

"He's shown a lot of resilience. He had some big challenges to deal with last year. I think he dealt with those very well."

He said Bridges had the full support of the caucus and expected his preferred PM stakes to improve.

Senior National MP Gerry Brownlee said there was no chatter about the leadership.

"We're quite happy at the moment. Everything's going along very well for us."