Morning Briefing July 15: Judith Collins takes control after National leader Todd Muller unexpectedly resigns

The National Party has welcomed their third leader in as many months, with Judith Collins taking over after Todd Muller's abrupt resignation yesterday morning.

National leader Judith Collins and deputy Gerry Brownlee. Source: 1 NEWS

He said the role had become "untenable from a health perspective" and, declining all interview requests, resigned as leader effective immediately.

1 NEWS understands the caucus vote last night was a closely fought battle between Ms Collins and Mark Mitchell, who also battled Mr Muller for the role less than two months ago. Paul Goldsmith also contested the deputy role last night, which went to Gerry Brownlee.

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Collins comes out firing

Mere minutes after being chosen as leader, Ms Collins has already come out firing. She told media she's not going to let Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern "get away with any nonsense", reckons her third bid for party leadership has proven "third time lucky" and reflected on her "remarkable" journey through politics, from a Labour voter to National's leader. The election is just 65 days away. 

Ms Collins will be on TVNZ1's Breakfast shortly before 7am to talk about her new job and what comes next for the party.

'A good man'

Not to be forgotten, Todd Muller has resigned as leader but he says he'll stay on as the local MP for Bay of Plenty after taking some time out of the spotlight with his family. 

Before yesterday's emergency meeting, his MPs had only positive things to say about their departing leader. Ms Collins called him a "delight to work with", while Alfred Ngaro said he was a "good man". Simon Bridges, rolled by Mr Muller in a coup 53 days ago, said being leader of the Opposition was "the toughest job in politics" and wished Mr Muller the best for the future.

Missing Covid-19 tests

Onto the rest of the day's news and lost Covid-19 test results have delayed the departure of a dozen people scheduled to leave a managed isolation facility in Auckland. One of the impacted families say they'd been told the results were negative and they were clear to leave, but they still weren't allowed to go until the final test results were found again. The Ministry of Health couldn't explain what happened to the results, only telling 1 NEWS they were lost. 

In other testing news, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says they're bringing in new Covid-19 testing guidelines for GPs and other testing facilities after a recent slump in the numbers. One new case of Covid-19 was confirmed yesterday, in managed isolation.

Arrivals into NZ plummet

The number of people arriving in New Zealand in May was the lowest since 1959, according to new data by Statistics NZ. Just 5600 people came into the country that month. In total, more than 47,000 Kiwis have come home since the border restrictions began in March.

Other news of note this morning: 

NZ Police are rolling out a new fleet of unmarked patrol cars in an attempt to crack down on harmful driving.

The head of the Fiji Catholic Church says he feels "ashamed" and apologises for the behaviour of priests who allegedly abused Fijian children, after an extensive 1 NEWS investigation by Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver.

MythBusters star Grant Imahara has died suddenly of a brain aneurysm, aged 49.

Three searches undertaken in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack have been ruled unlawful by the IPCA.  

Glee's starring cast held hands at Lake Piru to farewell fellow actress Naya Rivera, after her body was found yesterday. 

Jeffrey Epstein's former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to charges she recruited victims for sexual abuse 20 years ago.

And finally...

Source: 1 NEWS

Nights are getting chillier, but what's the best way to get those sheets warm before you tuck in for the night? Seven Sharp's Laura Daniel took the opportunity to film a whole story from her bed for a very 'scientific' study. From the newfangled electric blanket and the old-fashioned hottie, to more unusual methods like fresh toast or a cuddly kitty cat, Laura tests the best ways to heat things up in the bedroom during the frigid winter nights.