10 Mar 2021

'A National Party board document': Judith Collins trying to distance MPs from review

9:06 am on 10 March 2021

National leader Judith Collins says a review of the party's crushing election loss and first three years in opposition belongs to the board and the fact that MPs can read it is a "good concession".

National leader Judith Collins 17/02/21

National Party leader Judith Collins. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Judith Collins told Morning Report the review "obviously shows... that it was a really difficult time for the National Party. The review itself was made available to each of our MPs to read and of course the party is reaching out to members to go through the results of it and the recommendations.

"It's a really thorough review, it's hard hitting and actually, it's something I think we in the party will all be learning from."

Asked if National voters would see the review, Collins said the recommendations would likely be "coming through".

"It's something that's been arranged by the board of the National Party, it's their review they commissioned. We're obviously not going to be putting out the whole report to everybody because frankly that would just be a distraction for the things that really matter to people."

There was nothing in the review that made Collins sit up and think "oh I didn't know about that" and nothing in it would be much surprise to the party's MPs.

However, it was a "challenging and difficult document to read and good for us as MPs to read".

Asked if MPs were going to be allowed to have a copy of the review, Collins said: "We're not going to have any of that sort of nonsense".

MPs would have an opportunity to read it, but it was the board's report and MPs would not get a copy.

Questioned about that and whether it showed MPs were not trusted with it, Collins said: "I think it's really important that we stay focused on the things that matter to New Zealanders such as a trans-Tasman bubble".

She claimed she was not worried about MPs leaking the report if they had a copy and that it was "very trusting" to allow them to read it.

"The report was written for the board, not the MPs, and the fact that the MPs can read it themselves is, I consider, a good concession by the board to the MPs.

It was "absolutely a National Party board document, it is not one that is owned by caucus".

"MPs are no doubt talking about it but.. our MPs do not want to be distracted by talking about details in the report which they have been able to read with the media."

However, it was important that the party learn from the past three years, she said.

"What was really clear is ... there was disunity, particularly during the campaign ... we need to talk about that within the party and the caucus. What we don't need to do is spend our time with public in the media navel gazing and worrying about ourselves."

She told Morning Report that one of the big lessons was that when the party was "talking about ourselves like you are making me do now, then we actually lose the public".

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