Judith Collins: Super stays at 65, will work with Winston Peters

Judith Collins (File)
Judith Collins (File)

The self-titled "polarising" contender in the Prime Ministerial competition has ruled out raising the superannuation age as she cosies up to NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Judith Collins has come out swinging after entering the race to become the next leader of the National Party.

The police and corrections minister is confident she is the right person for the job, despite an anonymous National MP saying the battle is a two-horse race between Bill English and Jonathan Coleman.

In a major move, Judith Collins told Paul Henry the National Party shouldn't wait for the next election - they should start working with Winston Peters now.

"We need to be able to reach over to who is the real leader of the opposition - which is Winston Peters. We need to be able to not give up so much of our base like we are at the moment.

"We need to be able to do that and we won't do that under Bill [English], we'll do it under me."

She was not afraid to make the first move and open the door to a conversation about having him as a support partner.

"I think we actually need to have more options in support parties and we should be talking to those people now."

The contentious superannuation conversation has stalled for the last five years after John Key completely ruled it out back in 2011.

Due to a microphone failure, Newshub had to ask Collins twice if she would rule out raising the superannuation age.

Her first answer was diplomatic:

"Well a lot of that's going to depend on what we have to do, obviously, in the election and what the books are like."

But take two - after a couple of seconds to think about it - much firmer:

"Yes I am going to rule it out actually, because I know there's a lot of people who are relying on this and they've paid taxes all their lives."

The people who need it, she says, shouldn't have to live without it.

"We've got enough poverty without making our elderly poor."

Ms Collins says she doesn't believe the hype that super is costing too much.

"I don't think it is the burden that a lot of people want to see it is - they're often the people who don't have to rely on it."

Ms Collins says the Northland by-election should have been "a rocket up everyone's backside" in terms of how fragile the voter base can be.

"I think Northland should have sent a shockwave through the party and through the caucus," she says

"It should have told people that it is really easy to lose that connection with your base if you don't listen to it."

And she also had an idea on how to reconnect with the nation.

"More grass roots, more connected to the provinces, more connected to the rural side but actually listening a lot more rather than telling."

Promising no-fuss leadership.

"I don't pussyfoot around, I do not try to insult people and I actually don't go out of my way to, and people who have worked with me generally want to continue to work with me.

"I am polarising and I'm not changing that. The fact is, we need every single national aligned voter to get out on election day and vote for us. I can tell you that just mild is not going to do it."

She also wants an end an end to using so many committees.

"You will get someone who is extremely straightforward, you'll know exactly where I stand, and there won't be ifs and buts and there won't be any rushing off to some little group to decide what it is that we could do."