National Party leadership contest gets scrappy

Judith Collins
Judith Collins Photo credit: Getty

Judith Collins has scored an embarrassing own-goal in the contest to become leader of the National Party.

Ms Collins accused competitor Amy Adams of breaking caucus rules when she launched her campaign with public support from four National Party MPs.

"The fact is that the caucus agreed that we would not all come out and be counted until after the vote, and that was the advice of Bill English, and I'm sticking by it," she told reporters on Thursday afternoon.

"I'm sticking by the rules."

Amy Adams launches her leadership campaign.
Amy Adams launches her leadership campaign. Photo credit: Newshub.

The accusation forced the National Party to issue a statement clarifying there was no such agreement forbidding public endorsement of a leader.

"While discussion took place, no caucus decision was made regarding MPs taking a public position in endorsing a candidate for leader of the National Party," National Chief Whip Jami-Lee Ross MP said.

No new candidates stepped forward today, but Jonathan Coleman has ruled himself out of the contest.

The three contenders are Amy Adams, Judith Collins and Simon Bridges. Paula Bennett has indicated she'd like to stay on as deputy, but whether she remains in the job will be a decision made by the caucus - and that process is confidential.

It's just day two of the National Party leadership contest. If Parliament was a pot, Ms Collins just boiled over.

There are 12 days to go.