Judith Collins 'on her way out' as National leader - commentator

Source: 1News

Judith Collins is "on her way out" of leadership and "certainly" won't contest the next election, a political commentator says.

Ben Thomas' comments on Breakfast come after several public mis-steps by the National leader, as well as the release of two polls that show National not only failing to make ground on the governing Labour Party, but even losing it to right-wing rival ACT.

In a recent poll, commissioned by the Taxpayers' Union and carried out by National's private pollster Curia, the party had just 21 per cent support.

The poll also showed Collins' unpopularity as preferred prime minister.

She had 4.4 per cent per cent, well behind ACT leader David Seymour on 9.3 per cent. Jacinda Ardern remains well ahead with more than 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, another poll last week, conducted by UMR, has National slightly higher on 26 per cent.

"She's (Collins) on her way out, we just don't know when right now," Thomas told Breakfast this morning.

"Collins has reached the end of her road as leader, we pretty much know where it's ended up. It's ended up in sort of petty feuds, grudges, enmities.

"There's no plot afoot right now, you know, you don't have co-conspirators involved ready to roll Judith Collins, but what you do have is a growing understanding that things can't continue as they are and that she certainly won't be leading the party into the next election.

"The question is who will roll her and when? It's a bit of a reverse Cluedo game."

Thomas said it was important to have a functioning Opposition, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic with the Government making big decisions for the country.

However, on Q+A on Sunday, National MP Christopher Luxon defended Collins' leadership , saying she was doing "a tough job at a tough time".

The former Air New Zealand CEO, whose name is often tossed into the mix as a future National leader, told Jack Tame he's only been in politics for 10 months so he's got a lot of learning to do before any discussions about taking the reins.

"I've got a lot to learn Jack, I mean, there's a big change here coming from a business background into a political background," he said.

In response, Thomas told Breakfast that Luxon, nor anyone else, would want to takeover leadership with the party polling so low.

"Judith Collins leadership ironically becomes less stable the better that National is doing in the polls," he said.

But he added, now might be the time for Luxon to "put aside personal ambition in terms of when he would think the best time to move would be for the good of the party".

Thomas said former leader Simon Bridges could also be a contender. Bridges was rolled by Todd Muller in May 2020, before he stepped down and Collins took charge.

"He does have a more relaxed persona than when he was last leader ... if he were to go back would he have an easier time? Perhaps.

"We know that he can run lines, that he can sort of sit at the chair at the desk in a confident way.

"There's a number of questions for the National caucus with no easy answers."

Judith Collins