Collins absent as new National leader Luxon visits Auckland

Source: 1News

Former National leader Judith Collins was absent during her successor's first Auckland visit as leader of the Opposition.

Christopher Luxon was in the city talking to businesses as the Covid-19 Protection Framework, known as the traffic light system, took effect on Friday.

He was surrounded by several Auckland MPs, including Mark Mitchell, Chris Penk, Simeon Brown, Erica Stanford, Simon O’Connor and Paul Goldsmith - but one appeared to be missing - Luxon's predecessor, Collins, who lost her job as leader last week before the former Air New Zealand CEO took the reins.

When asked by 1News' Kim Baker Wilson where she was, Luxon explained the Papakura MP's absence.

"Judith's actually moving houses at the moment so she couldn't be with us today but she would if she could," he said.

Baker Wilson then asked if Collins should have been extended an olive branch already, to which Luxon said he'll "deal with that in the coming days".

"All I can tell is is, what I said publicly, there's great roles for all 33 MPs in our caucus lineup. We have an amazing talent in our people, we have to get the right people hooked up to the right challenge and take it to the Government.

"Come Monday, I'd encourage you, take our lineup and put it up against the Government's and say 'who do you want as the minister?"

It comes after Luxon announced Simon Bridges as having the finance portfolio on Thursday. Bridges had expressed interest in being leader of the party again, but bowed out hours before the vote, leaving the role uncontested for Luxon.

In explaining Bridges' new portfolio being announced earlier than others, Luxon said that was because finance was "without a doubt our the biggest, broadest portfolio that touches all aspects of our community and our economy".

"Everything else, we'll work through those conversations and we'll announce on Monday," Luxon said.