Outgoing National MP '100 per cent' supports Judith Collins despite mammoth election loss

Source: 1News

As National Party MPs meet today to, outgoing MP Matt King says he backs Judith Collins as leader "100 per cent".

King will say his final goodbyes at National's caucus meeting after he lost the Northland seat to Labour's Willow-Jean Prime. There was just 163 votes between the two.

This morning on TVNZ1's Breakfast he remained loyal to the party, though, and vowed to return in 2023 after some family time.

However, while he admitted today was "not a great day for me", King continued his support for Collins.

"I've got huge admiration and support for Judith, she has done a fantastic job. She did get a hospital pass, she went out there, she went hard.

"I know her very well and she is an amazing woman and I 100 per cent support her."

Meanwhile, Gerry Brownlee has announced last week he will not contest the deputy leader position.

1 NEWS understands that health spokesperson Shane Reti has been doing the numbers and appears to have them for the deputy leadership.

Some in the party are hoping for a smooth transition, but there is still a chance someone like Michael Woodhouse will put their hand up.

The results of the leadership reshuffle are set to be announced after this morning's caucus meeting.  

Meanwhile, looking ahead, King said National would "learn a few things" from a review into its campaign and what went wrong for them.

National received just 33 seats in Parliament following this election - 23 less than last term.

But King said polling was going well before Covid-19 struck.

He believed the Government handled the pandemic well and had the stage to showcase that, which he believed contributed 80 per cent to National's downfall.

King still reckons National could have handled the pandemic better but doesn't think the party's oppositional approach they were criticised for on was "reading the room wrong".