Judith Collins praises 'extraordinary' Kiri Allan for balancing national emergency, cancer diagnosis

National leader Judith Collins has praised Labour MP Kiritapu Allan for her "extraordinary" handling of New Zealand's tsunami threat last month, all while awaiting her cancer diagnosis.

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The National Party leader says she was shocked at the news of the Labour MP's cervical cancer battle. Source: Breakfast

Allan yesterday announced she's taking medical leave from Parliament after being diagnosed with stage three cervical cancer.

The 37-year-old MP for the East Coast is calling it the "fight of my life", revealing a six-centimetre-long tumour was discovered the same day she led the country through a tsunami and evacuation alert on March 4. Allan was then diagnosed with stage three cervical cancer last week.

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Labour MP Kiri Allan diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer, taking medical leave

"I just thought she did such a great job during the latest tsunami threat and the Civil Defence threat and to find out that she knew that this was all going on in the background for her at the same time that she had to step up in her first big ministerial test I thought was just extraordinary that she went through that," Collins told Breakfast this morning, adding she was "shocked" at the news.

"I can imagine she would have been putting herself in the background and putting her job first but it's just a reminder that what people see is not necessarily what's going on behind the scenes, so all the best to Kiritapu."