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Collins promises to not 'sugar-coat things' in National's campaign launch

Judith Collins launched National's election campaign today with a slick virtual event to show off their candidates around the country.

National Leader Judith Collins at the party's virtual election campaign launch Source: 1 NEWS

But it was marred with the party's finance spokesperson admitting only half an hour earlier a $4 billion "irritating mistake" in their fiscal election plan - pointed out by Labour's finance spokesperson.

Former TV presenter and outgoing MP Maggie Barry hosted the online launch, holding interviews with their MPs about National's promises, before ending with Collins' campaign speech. 

"Let me be straight with you," Collins said as she stared down the barrel of the camera, "because you know I’m not one to sugar-coat things". 

"We are facing an economic crisis the likes of which we have never seen before. Government lockdowns have crippled business confidence and cash flow up and down the country.

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The party had based their projected debt target on older figures - a mistake which Labour's Grant Robertson pointed out. Source: 1 NEWS

"People are losing their jobs at the fastest rate in a generation and many thousands more job losses are still to come, unless there is policy change."

"This is about the future. Only National has a plan to grow the economy."

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Conducted slightly differently this year, the launch was largely held online due to Covid-19. Source: 1 NEWS

"You can trust a National Government I lead to borrow and invest wisely, putting New Zealand on a long-term track to pay down debt, greatly improving prospects for future generations."

Responding to questions around National's $4 billion error, Collins told media today that "the biggest error people need to worry about is a Labour Government, if re-elected, will take away $3000 from their back pockets". 

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The mistake to National's debt target projection was due to using outdated numbers from earlier this year in how much money they would save by halting Super Fund contributions. The error meant National promised on Friday to get debt levels below 35 per cent of GDP by 2034 - that had to be bumped up to 36 per cent after the error was found. 

"I think people understand a mistake was made, it was owned up to," Collins said today. 

"I've got no problem with that. If everybody went through life thinking they could never ever make an error, no one would get out of bed in the morning."

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"Over ten years it means very little," Collins said.

"That's the difference between a 35 per cent debt to GDP ratio and a 36 per cent. That's nothing compared to Labour's 48 per cent (debt target). It's only a matter of projections."