Judith Collins doesn’t expect to be challenged as National Party leader following the party's extremely poor showing in the election, saying the party “needs stability”.
The politician fronted media today, her first press conference since National’s loss last night.
When asked if she would be staying on as leader, Collins said she “would expect so”.
She said she doesn’t expect a challenge, not even from former party leader Simon Bridges who has openly criticised the party’s campaign last night and said they “didn’t have a plan or a strategy”.
Today Collins said: “What I do expect is that everyone is going to be very focused on stability and I think too it will be really important for us that we have a very thorough review on what's happened, and I think not just the last year, but the last three years".
“It would be good for the party to go and have a look at all the things that went right and went wrong.
Last night's results saw the National Party secure just 26.9 per cent of the votes, with 35 seats in Parliament. Labour won 65 seats, meaning it can govern alone.
Collins said it was a "tough” election campaign, against a formidable opponent in Jacinda Ardern, during the global pandemic.
“I had to deal with some very difficult things during that campaign, matters as you know around board, around selections and of course I had to exit an existing National MP, two sort of really.
“So it was very challenging.”
She referenced internal polling, and said the Denise Lee data leak cost the party five per cent of party votes.
“I’ll tell you some secrets okay, before the second lockdown we were about 39, 40 that was before that second lockdown, and second lockdown just went poof. And do you know that leak that was out, cost us five points."
An email leaked to Newshub on October 6 showed National's Auckland Council spokesperson Denise Lee criticising a policy announced to review the local body.
Lee called the policy a "highly problematic idea", a "nightmare" and "another working group", and said bypassing her was "incredibly poor form and displays a shockingly bad example of poor culture".
Collins said even with the difficulties, National "could have probably done better".
But she has faith in the next chapter.
"We’ve taken this knock but do you know what we’re down and not out."