Lloyd Burr: Judith Collins ticks all the boxes - so why won't she win?

OPINION: Judith Collins has the perfect credentials to lead the National Party.

She's been in Opposition before and knows how much of a hard slog it is to get traction.

She's an incredibly hard worker, and that showed in her performance as a minister.

She's based in Auckland, which makes it so much more accessible for regular media engagements.

Speaking of media, she's very media savvy. She's polished and articulate and doesn't hold back with her comments.

She's polarising, which is a great skill to have in Opposition. Also good for getting air time.

While she's a city-slicker now, she grew up on a farm in Matamata and knows how rural communities work.

Judith Collins.
Judith Collins. Photo credit: Getty

She's a solid link with Auckland's ethnic communities and has been for years. This can only grow in importance as those communities grow.

The party faithful like her combative, straight-up style.

She's a fundraiser. She knows how to lure donations to the party, which is harder now they're in Opposition.

If anyone knows how to get back up again, it's Judith Collins. She was forced to resign from Cabinet during the 2014 election campaign following the release of the book Dirty Politics.

She was cleared and reinstated as a minister (although with different portfolios).

She battled through the constant allegations of conflict of interest with her husband's company Oravida.

Looking back at her 16-year tenure as an MP, you wonder why on earth she would stick around. But she has.

And she wants to stick around some more.

Anyone who goes through the wringer like that and still wants to stay in politics is tough. Real tough.

So why won't she win? One word: caucus.

Even though she's popular with the public and the party, she's polarised or burnt bridges with too many MPs in National's caucus.

That's a problem when it's caucus that votes in the new leader.

Some MPs say she has too much political baggage, others say she's great until she gets too much power, in which case she thinks she's invincible.

Collins admits one of her weaknesses is that she doesn't suffer fools - but that's not a fatal flaw.

Someone told me she's too ambitious. Really? Isn't ambition a good thing for a leader?

Whatever the reasons for caucus not liking her, it means she's very unlikel to be elected as leader.

And good luck to whoever wins. Because having Collins languishing in the background is dangerous.

When she gets bored, she's prone to throwing political grenades.

Lloyd Burr is a Newshub political reporter.

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