National MPs to meet party leader Judith Collins next week for a series of ‘honest’ talks

National leader Judith Collins will be sitting down with her MPs over the coming week for an “honest” discussion where they will be able privately air any concerns.

It will also be an opportunity for MPs to pitch for what shadow portfolios they want.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB this morning, Collins touched on a range of topics including the party’s performance in the election, her deputy Gerry Brownlee as well as her own leadership.

After Todd Muller resigned the leadership in July, Collins said she and Brownlee were given “the hospital pass from hell”.

She has previously spoken about how she reluctantly became the leader of National, after she was asked by the caucus.

“We were thrown it [the leadership] and we ran with it as far and as fast as we could.”

Asked if it was a mistake having Brownlee as her deputy, Collins said “that’s one of the things we will look at in the review”.

But she said that would not be her opinion and she threw her support behind him.

“Gerry has been a stalwart of the National Party and has been tremendous support for me. He has done a tremendous job.”

On her own leadership, she said she expects to be National’s leader in 2023.

“But I also think whoever the right person for the job is, [that is] the person I would support.”

She said she would like to be leader in 2023 – “but if it is obvious that there is a better person who could bring good centre-right economic policy to help New Zealand, then obviously I would always side with whoever is the best person for the job”.

“From my point of view I hope it’s me – but it may not be. It’s not up to me.”

At the moment, she said there is “nobody else who could do it better at the moment”.

She said the party needs a period of “absolute stability”.

Looking ahead, she said next week will be an opportunity to start shaping her caucus.

“I am giving every MP who wants the opportunity to have a say on their portfolios, to meet with me privately so they can have an honest discussion and feel that they can say whatever they want.”

She said MPs would also have a caucus where that can further be discussed.

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