She’s the only National leadership hopeful who has spent time in Opposition and plans to lean on that experience – but what policy changes does she have up her sleeve?

She’s the only National leadership hopeful who has spent time in Opposition and plans to lean on that experience – but what policy changes does she have up her sleeve?

By Jason Walls

“It’s not my favourite,” Papakura MP and National Party veteran Judith Collins says when asked about her nickname, ‘Crusher.’

“But it’s the only nickname I have.”

The origins of the name aren’t complex; she received it when her bill allowing boy racers' cars to be crushed after multiple infringements came into law.

That was almost a decade ago, but the name has stuck – and for a good reason.

Collins has a reputation for being tough and effective, especially in Opposition.

And in leading an Opposition, especially one the size of National’s, those ‘Crusher’ qualities are essential – she says her name is written all over the job.

“It is the toughest job in Parliament and you do need to be tough and you do need to be able to get the job done.”

She cites her previous experience as a lawyer, company director and chairwoman as examples of her ability to perform on this level but underscores her time in Opposition as her main drawcard.

Entering Parliament in 2002, Collins is the only leadership candidate who has spent time in Opposition.

Those were “tough years,” but years she spent being “very effective in holding the Government to account.”

Does she think this will give her an edge over her competitors?

“It’s not a matter of think, I know it would.”

She has no plans to try and beat Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at her own relentlessly positive game.

“You can’t out Jacinda, Jacinda any more than she could out crush me,” she says.

A big policy shake-up

Her plans to win back the Treasury benches will start almost immediately if she wins National’s leadership.

In short, “I would bring us a little bit further back to our base,” she says.

She talks at length about what she calls a “stocktake.”

Over its almost decade in power, she says National had to compromise time and time again with coalition partners which drew it further away from its base.

“That’s what you do; you make all sorts of policy [changes] and you actually come away from your core policies,” she says.

“It’s really important to look at the base and look at where those policies are and ask are they still fit for purpose? Is this where we should be, or should we maybe be doing something on this side, or something on that side or just staying straight on it.”

The time for this reassessment, this “stocktake,” is now, she says.

And it seems nothing is off limits – “we would look at everything to see what is still working.”

She gives the example of the Iwi participation clause in the Resource Management Act – where National, in a bid to get changes to the legislation across the line, agreed to give Iwi more involvement in planning processes.

This clause, she says, had a “tremendous amount of backlash” from National supporters and is one policy she would like to see changed.

She is also keen on fostering strong Coalition partners, saying this was the main factor behind not winning the election last year.

“We have won all sorts of battles [in the election], but we lost the war because we couldn’t actually bring in a Coalition and we lost our Coalition partners along the way,” she says.

“We have to be in a position in 2020 to be able to look to Coalition partners without there being animosity and personal vendettas being served up to us.”

Flashback from 1999

Collins has a bleak prediction if the party does not do some reassessing over the next few months.

“What I recall is this party in 1999-2002 had not undertaken the stocktake it needed to.”

She makes the parallel between National’s position now and in 1999, right after the general election.

“I think the party had moved too far to the left at that stage and was seen as not delivering for its supporters.”

Three years later, National was crushed in the 2002 general election.

“Twenty. Point. Seven. Percent,” Collins says, emphasising each word individually and slowly.

Is National too far left now?

“On some issues we are,” she admits.

“There are some issues that we just need to have a general rethink about, but certainly that’s what I am hearing from our members, we need to rethink, straighten up and then, from there, move into areas that maybe we haven’t been before.”

And for a new look National Party, what new nickname could befit its leader?

“I think it would be Auntie Jude,” she says, giving a nod to the success of former Prime Minister Helen Clark, or Auntie Helen as she became widely known.

“She was quite successful, wasn’t she?”

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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National haven't figured out yet that their aged boomer support base has one foot in the grave and most of my generation, the people on the receiving end of their policies, absolutely hate their guts.

The demographics will continue to turn against them for many many years.


Conservative party in the UK is hitting the same wall. Turns out you can't complacently assume that people will automatically turn conservative when they're older, if you've screwed them over when they were young and put significant obstacles in the way of building security and starting a family and amassing assets.

Collins amongst all of them is the only one capable of doing some real damage. Perhaps National will recall how effectively Muldoon went after Kirk’s Government. While the tactics were basically unscrupulous personal attacks, it nonetheless worked. Trouble is in these days of far more intense media pressure, a mis hit can be very painful to oneself.

Judith Collins thinking she'd be a good leader is like watching a dog look for its dead owner; it'ls like "awww - it doesn't know...." :(

With respect - I suggest your comments are a gross distortion - I meet with many of all ages and while I see some who disagree with some National policies as do I, many do agree and I think " hate their guts " is the sort of political comment we would all be better off without.

Just remember those ever increasing numbers of oldies do turn out at the polls !


I still wouldn't underestimate the angst out their in the younger generation. The housing crisis has had a massive impact on their economic and social well-being and anecdotally most younger people (<35 years) I've discussed politics with are indeed anti-National.

I can attest that I am one of those youth that will forever hate the national party no matter what face they put on, particularly due to that traitor JK. While I don't like any of the other parties because they are all self interest parties at least I will not teach my son to hate them with vengeance as I would with national. Am I the minority or majority? Who knows??? But I suspect that at some point there will be a split within the national party with the younger MPs wanting a new name without the hated label bobbing them down.

You and I are the reason that the Country will swing Left and Right for the rest of our lives and nothing will change much. Just the way I like it. Keep it up :)

The point was that the oldies are ever DECREASING as nature takes its course. Generation rent is still alive and kicking National to the curb.

Maybe if you are lucky enough to live to middle age you will realise that age is not an indicator of political affiliation. My family are all over 50 and variously vote Green, Labour, National and NZ First. All going well I’ll get to vote National another 11 times. You’ve got a long wait until the Socialist Paradise eventuates. I doubt it ever will, but then I would say that.

hmmm you're a reasonably sensible chap, I'm sure you know that's not entirely true, National voters are older, they are dying, they aren't being replaced at the same rate - National have been shocking to a generation of people, their only hope, which almost got them there to be fair, was importing culturally right wing elements.

The NZ First Voters in my Family will likely pop their clogs first. They have a pathological dislike of National over some slight in the 1990s. That leaves an even balance of Left/Right for the next 30 odd years. None of those votes will shift. I see Politics as a battle of ideas with the parties constantly evolving to attract the middle ground. To count National out is naive to anyone who has been around for any length of time.

Prediction, younger voters will come to realise that they do have a part to play in the future of the country, Greens will be the primary benefactor from that.

It must be a slow burn as my Son showed no interest in the Greens in his first election voting.

Can't say I am surprised

I agree with the battle for the centre, despite being a watermelon, commie, socialist, liberal whatever word of the week I'm being called this week, which is why unless Nikki Kaye is the next leader National will veer right and be off into the wilderness.

Chester Burrows summed it up in his article, ‘hunt where the ducks are’. I am a natural ACT voter but don’t vote that way as I want to see a right of centre Party in power and National are more likely to be that Party than ACT. There’s no point National coming right to pick up my vote.


Only wants power to enhance her husbands Chinese business interests. National will be in opposition for next 9 years. National No Mates!

auntie jude , brings images of that mean old auntie that you visited as a kid that made you sit in the corner and you weren't allowed to speak unless spoken too,.

I had an aunt like that. She made me help her make a massive batch of chocolate truffles, and didn't give me a single one to try after all my hard work. Fanatical National supporter.

NZ needs a practical government that is fair price,
Unfortunately that is not we have at the moment


What's your suggestion? Def. not that fricken National party

NZ needs a practical government that is bought off at a price,
Unfortunately that is not we have at the moment

I attempted to fix your typo. I'm sorry to hear the current government might not pander to your type.

Just panders to union types then?

That and blue and white collar workers. In fact, anyone not already asset rich and invested in the housing pyramid scheme.

Yes, the unions alongside Helen Kelly, that made great strides in cleaning up the horrendous accident rates in forestry and the unions that worked with and backed New Zealander of the Year, Christine Bartlett, to achieve a much fairer rate of pay for caregivers. Yes, the unions. And while we may not need to return to unions holding the country to ransom, we do definitely still need unions. Yes, the unions.

lets no forget what those of yesterday fought for so that we can enjoy today, the eight hour day and the forty hour week and a holiday to celebrate it

Although there were initial successes in achieving an eight-hour day in New Zealand and by the Australian labour movement for skilled workers in the 1840s and 1850s, most employed people had to wait to the early and mid twentieth century for the condition to be widely achieved through the industrialised world through legislative action.

The eight-hour day movement forms part of the early history for the celebration of Labour Day, and May Day in many nations and cultures.

In a 37 year working career to date, I was a union member for 10 months and only because it was compulsory.. I hope we never go back to compulsory unionism. It never did a jot for my working conditions although I can see the need for some professions and unskilled workers.

I agree, no compulsion, but in exchange for that, how about they not be completely powerless as they have virtually been for the last few decades.

Crusher might not win the personality stakes........

But she might well win National's leadership.

Toughness and length of experience aren't bad platforms for a leadership bid.


Hardly a tough interview. Scared of being crushed perhaps. Ms Collins has too much baggage. Adams looks and sounds electable. Better a Mutti than an Aunty.

Baggage doesn't seem to matter for Donald Trump :) It's about being decisive, strong, not back-tracking on the promises and starting yet another working group because you don't know what you are doing. It's also quite funny to see National haters making suggestions who should be the next leader. At least it helps National to know who they shouldn't go for.

Trump is he not the guy that wants to give teachers guns to shoot wayward students,
not a great example of a leader

I know it's crazy and yet his approval rating isn't as bad as it should be. I think it all comes down to emotive resonance with the people then all is forgiven. Bill English was just so bad, unable to engage (in both the debates and politics), and National has been edging towards left that conservatives can't even tell the difference between the parties anymore. I think a lot of people are thinking auntie Judie will change that.

Exactly Stev-O. It’s not as is the Left want a strong National Party.


When the Nats can admit they promoted asset owners of non asset, big farmers over the environment and foreigners over Kiwi's and that this will change......then I might start listening again.

So the world of QE and awash with cheap money is National’s fault? The thing we’ll never know is the unintended consequences of stopping/limiting dairy farming and closing up the border at the time when the world was going through recession. What makes you 100% sure NZ wouldn't be worse than now had we done all of whatever you were suggesting along with the natural disasters?

Rastus your thinking is correct for circumstances that were there.....but the circumstances have now changed so you will find that you will have to go back and reaccess the issues again.

Judith looks very committed to reaching across to NZF with antiiwi rhetoric, that’s forsure. And stoking the redneck base.

NZF has gone to the left though. Which maybe their own undoing. They need actual seats.

If NZF can pull off their spending projects they won't have any reason to go back to National. And note NZF gone very quiet on "one law, no moari privilege" rhetoric.

No one is going to trust Collins. Nuts move.

National will put in Judith only as a result of being absolutely up themselves.

Judith is really saying that the Nats can form a Government through their own vote ALONE.

If she wins they will be back to 20%.

Adams and Bridges is actually quite a reasonable looking pair of diggers.


The Oravida debacle should have been the end of her political career. The fact that its not is a damning and shameful indictment of the NZ political system, the national party, and most of all the NZ public for allowing her back in with any kind of platform of support.

hear, hear. I would like this comment more if I could.

who was going to condem her, not SJ who siddled up to sky city and gave them a good deal, not JK who bent over backwards for warner bros.
ok so now we have the other mob in and things will move the other way where they will bend over for the onions
so it just goes to show who is in power are those that will give to the people that will look after them
not necessarily those that will look after the ordinary kiwi

Then there was Oravida Kauri which changed its name to Kauri Ruakaka Ltd. Check out google search on the company SERP produces
Oravida Kauri Ltd - 外汇交易平台首选克罗斯贝 - Companies Office
No information is available for this page.
Learn why

Learn Why says
The page owner blocked this page from Google in a suboptimal way, so we couldn't create a good page description. If you know the site owners, let them know that "robots.txt is blocking Google and can't create a site description in search results".

Oravida Kauri Limited
Kauri Ruakaka Limited
Oravida Kauri Limited
Kauri Connect Limited
Kauri Nz Investment Limited
Kiwi Dairy Industry Limited (see Oravida Property Ltd)

David Wong-Tung - an inactive director whose contract began on 11 Oct 2012 and was terminated on 01 Jul 2017

ZB news - Winston Peters wants the 3 petrol companies to pay for the costs incurred using the military to assist with the fuel transport during the pipe line digger damage break at Ruakaka - reasoning that they are big enough and profitable enough. BP, Z, Exxon-Mobil

That raises the issue of how much tax these outfits pay on their profits. Michael West is having a field-day at the expense of Exxon-Mobil in Australia on the fact they dont pay tax and never have - ever - never - which makes you wonder why they would pay any tax in NZ, and if they arent then at a competitive level, BP and Z cant afford to be paying tax either

Investigative Journalists will have a field day with the possibility of Judith Collins and Mark Mitchell being anywhere near the National Party leadership. He's got a shed load of dirty washing. How the hell couldn't he? It's all over him. Perception is everything!

Dream Team from Labours perspective.

Problem is there is little or no investigative journalism in nz. We get more sports news than anything else and is what keeping people reading and happy. There is a very deep "she will be alright" and "too hard won't bother" culture in nz that i don't think will phase off anytime soon.

in my opinion first steps to a more thinking society would be the elimination of team sports in secondary schools.
That wont happen any time soon either...

Why are left supporters so concerned with who will lead the National Party?

Are you guys worried?? or just afraid that a possible ruthless person could crush your little circus next term ...? .. Is it possible that you guys have discovered how flimsy your choices were last election are surely not disappointed and keeping the faith .. right ?

Forget National ..... If you are so keen on improvement , Why not focus on keeping your naive and inexperienced, clean and tidy MPs and Gov Honest to get on with their JOB and come up with the goods they've promised NZers .?? ... If they keep forming committees for every single policy, then they will be brushed off straight to the bin.

Send them few reminders ... tell them "the holidays are over since January, get back to real work " ! ....Oh, and get them at least to agree publically on their own policies rather than humiliating themselves with inconsistent announcements ....

At least most National MPs have finished their apprenticeships and got their tickets ... unlike the noobs who replaced them ....who so far, don't seem to know where to start.

I can only speak for myself, but I'm finding it hilarious, a less dynamic collection of individuals I couldn't imagine, if those 5 are the brightest National have then you can look forward to a fair few terms in the wilderness.

Scratches the same itch as disaster movies.

Meanwhile the coalition goes from strength to strength.

John Keys decision to ditch his own party the way he has really starting to get damaging. High and dry. Totally selfish.

A very clever dealer, knows when to go long or short, and when to get out of the game with his winnings....
I think he fooled more NP members/leaders than ordinary citizens...

For a democracy you need credible parties. National should be spending less time sabotaging themselves. It's like they are actively trying to lose as many seats as possible in the next election.

Judith Collins is a great comedy option but will lead to a lack of competition and we'll end up with another 9 year Government which doesn't keep MPs on their toes.

It's like they are actively trying to lose as many seats as possible in the next election.

Funny you should say that. Here's what JC says:

She is also keen on fostering strong Coalition partners, saying this was the main factor behind not winning the election last year.

The tiny puppet party failed National this time but we can perhaps look forward to more serious electoral gaming whereby National hand over safe electorate seats to candidates from some Not-Really-National-Honest party and collect the party vote for themselves. More twofers!

Bring on ruthless Judith Collins, I'd love it if National did so and made itself un-electable. I mean as Tony Blair, Helen Clark and John Key have shown appearing to be middle ground "sensible and moderate" is a pretty sure way to win multiple terms. Meanwhile Michael Foot and his ilk show how being far from center is a clear road to political oblivion.

Yes she'd get my vote....

No compromise with partners and back to her base, that just smacks of un-electable. bring it on crusher, make my day...possibly even decade.

Past dirty politics and other indiscretions aside, she's a smart operator. Suggesting that National lost some of its core values and direction over the nine years of making concessions to the Maori Party is smart talking - particularly in light of the election result. In addition to her mention of the RMA iwi consutation changes (a Mana Whakahono a Rohe provisions), she ought to add to that the continued excise tax increases on tobacco products - again a MP coalition agreement initiative. The imposition of 'smoke free by 2025' (or whenever that target is) isn't really a freedom of choice / personal responsibility type of policy. And the tax has become extremely punitive - well beyond the associated health care costs.

If the NZ public and the government really want to become smoke free the key to my mind is continual raising the age of purchase. That way those already addicted aren't unnecessarily punished via tax price hikes and the younger generations simply never get hooked.

I'd personally prefer that the government addresses the smoking issue by heavily taxing tobacco products while leaving e-cigarettes and nicotine liquids comparatively cheaper. This would create an economic incentive for people to vaporize rather than smoke which would mitigate the vast majority of the health risks / cost while still providing revenue.

I would still like to see a full investigation into oil company margins and some real enforcement undertaken. Could Min Collins promise to carry on where she left off were she were to be NAT Leader? No doubt this will be one of many National Party promises should she succeed in the leadership bid and then run for PM.

Unless I am mistaken, since the change of Government this is dead in the water. Other than that, we are fortunate to have a strong and stable Government right now.