16 Oct 2020

Election 2020: Judith Collins will stay on, no matter what voters decide tomorrow

9:19 am on 16 October 2020

National Party leader Judith Collins has ruled out resigning, no matter what happens in tomorrow's election.

Judith Collins at Stonewood Homes on 15 October 2020

National Party leader Judith Collins. Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

Collins said she became party leader at a time when polls showed "very poor" support for National.

"I never ever in my wildest dreams ever imagined that I would have to take over the leadership in the circumstances I did," she said.

"Suddenly I was into it with our internal polling very, very poor... I've been getting it back up.

"We need strong leadership generally for the country, but if we're in opposition - and I hope we're not - we're going to need very strong leadership."

The latest Colmar Brunton poll, conducted between 10 and 14 October, showed 46 percent support for Labour and 31 percent support for National.

Only 20 percent picked Judith Collins as preferred prime minister, while 55 percent chose Jacinda Ardern.

Collins said 15 percent of voters were undecided - and that could shift the election tomorrow towards a National victory.

Some National Party supporters were "quiet Kiwis", who were reluctant to reveal their preferences to political pollsters, she said.

"I've been able to re-energise the party and I think we have a real shot tomorrow."

Collins said she was not worried by increased support for the Act Party, which received 8 percent support in the latest poll.

"The people who decide to vote for Act are doing so because they want a National-led government, not a Labour-led government.

"The answer to them, if they want to help get that National-led government, is to party vote National."

Collins ruled out any possibility of National seeking support from New Zealand First to become the government. New Zealand First received 3 percent support in the latest poll, while the Green Party was on 8 percent.

"Our caucus has made it very clear their view is they would rather not do a deal with Mr Peters.

"I just don't think he's going to be back," she said.

When asked about her views on the widening gap between the wealthy and those living in poverty in New Zealand, Collins said "some people will have more money than others".

"When you talk about inequality, if you mean taking money off people who have it to give it to other people, that's not what we're going to do," she said.

"The National Party stands for aspiration and growing the economy and growing wealth for everybody, not just saying 'we've got what we need now, we're going to chop it up'."

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