Former Prime Minister Sir John Key has defended National's election campaign, saying Judith Collins is doing "really really well".
Key told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking this morning that some of the criticism Collins had faced was over small issues that did not have an impact on the electorate.
"I don't think too many voters are going to hold that against Judith," Key said - addressing the seemingly rent-a-crowd of National supporters in Ponsonby yesterday.
Key said every party - not just National - had supporters who always knew where the leadership was on any given day.
He said that sort of issue highlighted in the media was more of a "process issue" that blocked the main messages being put out by a certain party.
Key acknowledged that Jacinda Ardern's success or 'it' factor may have also had a lot to do with her being at the forefront during the Covid-19 response.
"The principle is, it is fundamentally easier when you are Prime Minister."
On the cannabis referendum, Key said he held strong views on the issue and he would personally be voting no.
Questions about Collins' leadership were raised when she promised an Auckland Council review, if National was elected, live on Newstalk ZB earlier this week.
National's council spokeswoman, Denise Lee, was not aware of that and sent an email that described Collins' announcement as a "highly problematic idea". The email was later leaked to media.
The National leader also came under fire yesterday when a walkabout with media in Auckland's Ponsonby saw them bump into a crowd of National supporters.
It raised speculation of a rent-a-crowd being planted to make the party look popular.
Last weekend, Collins was pictured offering a prayer at St Thomas Church in Tāmaki while out to vote with her husband David Wong-Tung.
Images of her kneeling at a pew resulted in claims of the leader seemingly politicising her faith - something she later refuted as she had not invited media to photograph her at that moment.
Collins has said she would remain in the role of leader if her party was unsuccessful come next Saturday.