Judith Collins says she’s “not going around blaming anybody” for National's election loss, and is adamant she’ll stay on as her party's leader despite the defeat.
Speaking on TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning, Collins said the party would undertake a “thorough” review about its campaign and its constitution, including how it selects candidates.
She also offered a number of explanations that contributed to her party’s loss, which has left at least 12 former National MPs who had intended to return to Parliament without a job on preliminary results.
Collins said voters were more likely than not to give incumbent governments a second term under MMP.
“Every first-term Opposition under MMP has suffered a big loss.”
Collins said she was “very confident” she was the right person to continue as National’s leader because she was “someone who knows how to do the job” and would give the party “stability” and “strong leadership”.
Host Jenny-May Clarkson asked Collins if she took any personal responsibility for the campaign and its result.
“Our campaign started under one leader, continued with another leader, and then I ended up with it,” she said.
“That’s why we’ll have the review … the last time we did it to that level was probably 2002 - our other first term in Opposition.”
She said she would wait for the outcome of the review.
“I think there are some things I thought ‘oh, I could have done that one better’. … That’ll all come up in the review,” Collins said.
“I’m not going around blaming anybody for anything, and I just think, sometimes things happen in campaigns.
“I’ve been in politics long enough to know that they’re very seldom perfect, and there are often errors of judgment from people and sometimes people make mistakes and they get stressed and something happens.”
She said she wasn’t sure whether Gerry Brownlee wanted to stay on as National’s deputy leader.
“I’m very happy to support Gerry in whatever he wants to do,” Collins said.
“I’m not pushing anybody anywhere.”