Judith Collins slams Jake Bezzant as National Party president's leadership comes into question

Source: 1News

National Party leader Judith Collins has labelled former party candidate Jake Bezzant a "fantasist" and "possible sociopath", while saying his alleged actions were some of the most disgraceful she had ever seen in politics.

Her scathing remarks came today in light of reports Bezzant allegedly used explicit images of his former partner to lure men into online sex.

"I had no idea about what he was actually doing and what sort of clearly fantasist, possible sociopath he is," Collins said.

The party's now looking to overhaul its candidate selection process after a string of badly behaved men were ousted from the party.

"I don't think we can always take everything at face value on those issues of just what they've done and their character," Collins said.

But senior party insiders have told 1 NEWS change at the top is also needed.

President Peter Goodfellow has been at the helm throughout it all, with one insider saying Goodfellow had "been found wanting", another adding "his leadership has been absent".

"He should be fronting this, it's a party issue," the insider said.

Goodfellow refused to be interviewed today but in a statement said from the messages he had received he believes he has the support and confidence of the board, the part and its members.

But political commentators disagree, saying the party hasn't been in this bad of shape in a long time.

"He's presided over National becoming quite dysfunctional and so I think there really is a lot of noise coming up within National, from insiders, saying Peter Goodfellow has to go," Bryce Edwards said.

"It's going to be really hard for National to come back from this. It does seem that the party is in a worse state than they were in 2002 when they had their last big disaster," Edwards said, referring to when the party had its worst-ever electoral defeat.

Collins laughed off that claim, and said the party would need to make the decision on Goodfellow's leadership.