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Judith Collins defends move to Wellington during level 4: 'I'll ask the questions'

National Party leader Judith Collins has defended her party's stance on heading to Wellington during Alert Level 4 to sit in Parliament.

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The National Party leader left Auckland to attend Parliament in-person despite the nationwide lockdown. Source: Breakfast

The usually Auckland-based Collins spoke to the TVNZ Breakfast show on Wednesday morning from Wellington after Parliament resumed the previous day in the capital.

When asked by Breakfast host Indira Stewart why she believed Parliament could not have been run virtually with the nation still at Alert Level 4, Collins said there were multiple reasons why.

"If the Prime Minister was so worried about it as she said, then why didn't she just suspend Parliament for another day or two until we get to level three?" Collins said.

"We have had no Zoom meeting practice for 120 MPs in Parliament.

"So we think, 'well, if they're so keen on [Zoom meetings] then start putting the work into it rather than just springing it upon us over the last couple of weeks without any practice at all."

Stewart pointed out to Collins that many other New Zealand organisations such as schools, businesses and community groups had to learn Zoom "at the drop of a hat" during last year's sudden lockdown. Stewart went on to ask Collins why the National Party couldn't do the same.

Collins said the question was "totally unfair" and a "political attack" against the Opposition.

Collins said the media was only focused on "attacking the Opposition" and should instead challenge Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Covid-19 matters such as vaccination rates in her interviews, but instead asking her questions like "how are you?".

"If you think that I'm going to sit back and not stand up for New Zealanders, well you're wrong because I will continue to do it.

Judith Collins. Source: Getty

"I'll ask the questions, I'll stand up for every New Zealander's right to get the facts because we're certainly not going to get when we get the media asking questions like, 'and how are you feeling today, Prime Minister?'" Collins said.

"How about ask the questions for New Zealand?"

Midway through the interview, Stewart asked if a virtual meeting would have given the Opposition a bigger voice after Collins herself had stated few MPs were allowed in the debating chamber. However, the National Party leader said they didn't have a choice in the matter.

"Trevor Mallard set the rules as to who could be in Parliament," Collins said.

"He said only three MPs from National could be there so ask him about it because we've run Parliament before under level three and we've been able to do it.

"If the Prime Minister was worried about it, she could have suspended Parliament like last week - she chose not to."

Stewart then asked Collins if she had been tested for Covid-19 before heading to Wellington following National's call for essential workers to be regularly tested so they could work safely.

Collins once again gave a fiery response.

"I have not been in contact with Covid, not going out except for two bouts of exercise and in those cases, Indira, I have been a very, very good Covid-trace user."

Stewart then asked if any of the other National MPs, including one who had travelled from Christchurch to Wellington, had tested before flying.

Collins didn't answer the question but stated there's "no Covid there".

Watch the full interview above.