Judith Collins defends AGM speech in fiery exchange with John Campbell

Source: 1News

“If you were there, you would have seen 20 standing ovations,” Judith Collins says of her speech to National members at the party’s national conference last weekend. 

“[That was] from people who were never asked to do that … it was enormously good,” the National leader added. 

On Friday, National’s AGM in Auckland opened with a speech from Collins, who pledged “zero tolerance for disunity” within the party. 

But, signs of disunity were evident.

On the first day of the party’s national conference, 1 NEWS revealed that when National MP Todd Muller returns to Parliament, he won’t be attending caucus meetings. In June, Collins neither confirmed nor denied she pushed for Muller’s resignation at the next election after he criticised returning MP Harete Hipango, a known ally of Collins. 

The Young Nats, the party’s youth wing, then used its speech at the conference to criticise the party’s choice to vote against a ban on conversion therapy, the NZ Herald reported .

On Sunday, long-serving National MP and former Speaker of the House David Carter quit the party’s board at the re-election of President Peter Goodfellow . Carter has been on the board for nine months and told 1 NEWS he had “no confidence” in Goodfellow’s leadership. 

Breakfast’s John Campbell pointed out this morning that, in Collins’ main speech, National wasn’t offering many new solutions, apart from a technology summit. Most of the speech, instead, was spent heavily criticising Labour for failing to deliver on housing, mental health, light rail, and child poverty. 

Responding to Campbell, Collins said: “Don’t be ridiculous John. You don’t turn up as Opposition two years from election and say, ‘This is our big policy.'

"It’s utterly rubbish, John.”

Collins said in her speech that policy would be released along the way to the 2023 election. 

Campbell asked Collins to point out where in her speech she showcased National’s policy. 

Judith Collins and John Campbell.

Collins said her party was focused on “how we make this country a better place for everybody to live in”.

“Rather than just looking at issues in silos like transport, [it’s] looking from the point of view about how do you fix things? 

“This is a different way of looking at things.” 

She then criticised the Labour Government over Monday’s power outages , which left thousands of properties without power. 

Collins said when she was Minister for Energy and Resources in the last National-led Government, something like that hadn’t happened.