'I'm still buzzing' - Judith Collins beaming after leaders' debate, despite poor poll result

Judith Collins appeared on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning appearing reinvigorated despite a poor poll result last night.

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The National party leader told Breakfast she was in her element during the first leaders' debate for the 2020 election. Source: Breakfast

With a beaming smile, the National Party leader said she felt in her element during TVNZ's first leaders' debate, hosted by John Campbell, which aired minutes after the dismal poll results were revealed.

She confidently told Breakfast host Jenny-May Clarkson today that she won "hands down".

"I'm still buzzing, I so enjoyed it," Collins said.

"You were like a Cheshire cat, you were in your element," Clarkson responded.

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1 NEWS political reporter Benedict Collins wraps up TVNZ's first debate of the 2020 election. Source: 1 NEWS

Collins said she was "a performance person" and shared her love of debating.

"I think the energy was good, and the first sort of round I sort of though, 'Yup, no, I think I did fine,' and then that energy got more and more as my confidence levels went up," she rated herself.

"I felt I was in my element and I just loved it."

Meanwhile, Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern decided against fighting fire with fire, staying true to her pledge to govern with "relentless positivity".

But the differing viewpoints from the party's leading ladies didn't end there.

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The National Party leader said she could have spoken for another hour about her party’s policies. Source: 1 NEWS

While Ardern had media interviews yesterday morning then was out campaigning - including an appearance on Breakfast - Collins said she took a different approach.

"Yesterday I was very focused on knowing my facts, my figures, my arguments and I knew that I needed to perform really well last night so I just basically cleared everything to make sure that I was focused on that.

"It's really important that if you're going into a big debate or a big game that you don't get distracted."

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1 NEWS’ political editor Jessica Mutch McKay and academic Jennifer Lees-Marshment analyse the first leaders’ debate. Source: 1 NEWS

Collins said before the debate she'd received messages of support from former National leaders John Key and Bill English, as well as former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but that by the afternoon she was avoiding distractions and took some down time.

"It's like many sports people I know or others, they spend some quiet time thinking about what they're about to do and I think not putting that time aside is a mistake, certainly for me."

When asked if Ardern got it wrong by going on the campaign trail, Collins said, "apparently I was high energy and she was not".

"I don't think I lost, Jenny-May. I mean, I should be modest and say, 'Oh well, you know...' Nah, I won, better, hands down."

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Meanwhile a number of minor parties saw increases in support. Source: 1 NEWS

However, in the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll last night, Labour dropped five percentage points to 48 per cent - but it's still a strong lead.

In the same poll National dropped one percentage point to just 31 per cent.

In the preferred Prime Minister rankings, Ardern remains steady on 54 per cent, a number that hasn’t changed since June. Collins dropped two per cent, down to 18 per cent.

This morning, though, Collins wasn't phased by the dwindling numbers.

"I just think people want to see me out doing what I did last night a bit more and that's what they've been saying to me."

She also responded to the poll result by taking a crack at the "ridiculous" Government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions which have had gatherings in Auckland limited to 10 people and 100 around the rest of the country.

"I think absolutely we should just move on from this. This is just getting ridiculous."

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The poll showed the National Party sitting on 31 per cent and Collins on 18 per cent as preferred prime minister. Source: 1 NEWS