Judith Collins speaks to the media the day after her failed election campaign.
National Party leader Judith Collins has made her pitch to stay on in the role after leading the party to its worst defeat since 2002.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Collins said the party would be conducting a review of its disastrous campaign.
The party’s slimmed-down caucus, now just 25 MPs – down from 55 – will meet in Wellington on Tuesday.
It will be the first time Collins has faced the caucus since Saturday night’s defeat.
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Collins said she expected to stay on as leader, despite the result.
“It was always going to be a very big ask, particularly taking over in the circumstances that I did and the second lockdown,” Collins said.
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National Party Leader Judith Collins spoke to reporters on Sunday about what went wrong.
She said she didn’t expect a leadership challenge, although she mentioned there would be a confidence motion put to caucus after all new MPs were sworn in.
Since Thursday, Collins has been saying the second lockdown led to a shift in National’s polling, making it more difficult for her party.
She added detail to that on Sunday, telling the media National’s internal polls had the party as high as 39 per cent before the second Covid-19 lockdown.
“I’ll tell you some secrets, okay?” Collins said. “Before the second lockdown, we were about 39 to 40.”
She pointed the finger at a lack of party discipline, particularly the leak of an email from Denise Lee criticising the leadership.
“That leak that was out cost us 5 points,” Collins said.
Collins also made a subtle dig at former leader Simon Bridges who told media last night that candidates weren’t sure what they should be telling voters.
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Collins told reporters her party had polled as high as 40 per cent before the second lockdown.
“It was the National Party that was struggling with its own issues and didn’t have a plan or a strategy, so the candidates out in the field in a bunch of seats weren’t really sure what they should be saying on the issues,” Bridges said.
Collins shot back on Sunday, saying that emails were being sent out to candidates and suggested that it was Bridges’ fault if he was confused.
Party President Peter Goodfellow will be up for re-election next month.
He’s put his name forward for another term. Collins said she was throwing her personal support behind him.
National Party leader Judith Collins concedes the 2020 election to Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Party in a landslide defeat for her party.
The National Party backroom has come under criticism in the past three years for a disappointing array of candidates, many of whom were young and inexperienced – they either lost their races or, in the case of Todd Barclay, Hamish Walker, and Andrew Fallooon, saw their careers end in a wave of controversy.
There was also controversy around underhanded tactics in the selection of Emma Mellow as Auckland Central candidate.
Collins said constitutional matters, such as candidate selection, would be looked at.
“That would be something you expect in a review,” she said.
National’s caucus meeting on Tuesday could be brutal.
When Labour lost in a similarly devastating election in 2014, the caucus meeting that followed lasted for seven hours as MPs dissected the result.