2 May 2019

National's Judith Collins on leader Simon Bridges: 'I think he's doing well'

8:38 am on 2 May 2019

Senior National MP Judith Collins has backed Simon Bridges to lead the party into the 2020 election.

Judith Collins.

Judith Collins Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

Speculation has continued of a possible challenge by Ms Collins to Mr Bridges' leadership amid concerns about his popularity and performance and criticism of a number of his decisions, including to launch a formal inquiry into the leak of his expenses.

Ms Collins told Morning Report today Mr Bridges was "doing fine" in what was a tough job.

"People don't really know how tough it is. We saw a good performance yesterday in Parliament and I think people will be very happy with that.

"It's a tough job and I think he's doing the best he can. I think he's also really getting more and more experienced and he's doing very well.

"The big thing in opposition, in my opinion, having been there for six years before we went to government, is you've got to keep very focused on the main game. And the main game is holding the government to account which is, you know, what we should all be doing, and I'm sure we all are."

Asked if she would like to see Mr Bridges lead National into the 2020 election, Ms Collins said she would.

"Oh, of course," she said. "And I think you just gotta, you know, and I'm supporting him to help him do that."

Ms Collins said it was the will of the caucus. Mr Bridges won the leadership last year against Ms Collins, Amy Adams, Steven Joyce and Mark Mitchell.

"That's what we chose to do in February last year. You don't normally say who you vote for but after I dropped out of the race I voted for Simon and I've been supporting him ever since. And I think we just need to continue to keep our eye on the main game."

Asked earlier this week about whether Ms Collins could be next in line for leadership of the party, Mr Bridges said he would not be making any comments about his caucus.

"No one has said that to me," he told Morning Report. "I trust my colleagues, I believe we've got a fantastic caucus.

"I lead a big party, we need to make sure we are disciplined and unified, that's one I think of three important spokes as we seek to be government in 2020."