“It will be a fight for life in 2020”
Radio New Zealand
Wellington, February 14, 2018
Senior National MP Judith Collins has announced that she is taking a crack at the National Party leadership.
Ms Collins announced her intentions on Twitter after current leader Bill English announced yesterday that he was stepping down effective later this month.
“I am announcing my candidacy for Leader of the New Zealand National Party. We are going to need strong and decisive leadership if we are going to win in 2020. I am that person.”
Ms Collins said she believed the party needed strong and decisive leadership.
The following is a Statement that she issued a few minutes ago.
Strong Leader needed
We also need somebody that can operate in a way that will, in fact, bring about a lot of stress on the current government, and leader of the opposition is one of the toughest jobs in politics.
“So, I am one of the few people in our caucus who has had any experience in opposition and it is not going to be easy, but we do need to do that.
I have got a plan to get 61 votes at the end of 2020 and I believe that I can do it. It is not going to be easy, but I can do it.
I can hold a government to account because I am not frightened of a government.
I can stand up when I need to, and I also am somebody who understands that it is actually the people of New Zealand that counts, not us (politicians); it is not our feelings; it is their feeling.
I was approached by people from caucus during the Christmas break because they were concerned that Mr English might want to leave at some stage.
My view at that stage was, I was not going to do anything that would undermine Bill because he deserved respect, and he deserved to work things out himself.
The leadership competition should be about who can win in 2020 rather than just more of the same.
I think that it is really important that we have a really full and robust debate in the National Party caucus, I do not think that this caucus should stand by and just let things slip along.
This is going to be the fight of our lives for 2020 and I am the person to do it.
National needed the strongest possible opposition because although it had the numbers, that did not necessarily translate into winning.
Opposition was very different from government, she said.
I think it is really important that we have the strongest most decisive leader we can because there is no doubt about it, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is a formidable, formidable person for us to deal with.
We would be very foolish to underestimate her – I don’t.
Time to decide
National’s caucus has two weeks to decide on a replacement for its leader, Bill English, who announced he would step down yesterday – effective February 27, 2018.
Other potential contenders include Simon Bridges, Amy Adams and Steven Joyce.
The above Report has been published by Indian Newslink under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz
Judith Collins in Wellington this morning. Radio New Zealand picture by Rebekah Parsons-King