National Party leadership hopeful Judith Collins urges opponents to quit before next week's vote

Judith Collins has denied reports she's struggling to get MPs to back her leadership bid.

Newshub political reporter Lloyd Burr last week said the former Minister of Police had the support of five of her colleagues. Problem is, there are 50 other National MPs who appear to be planning to vote for one of her opponents - Steven Joyce, Simon Bridges, Amy Adams or Mark Mitchell.

Appearing on The AM Show on Friday, Ms Collins disputed the figures.

"That's not true... these numbers are changing constantly."

A poll by UMR Research for The Spinoff found Ms Collins has the support of the party's voters, edging out Mr Joyce 17 percent to 16.

Paula Bennett, who isn't running, is in third place with the public on 14 percent, and Nikki Kaye - who also isn't in the race - is fourth on 11 percent. Candidates Mr Bridges and Ms Adams are neck-and-neck on 9 percent. (Mr Mitchell's support wasn't polled, as he was yet to put his hat in the ring when it was conducted.)

But the leadership isn't voted on by the public - it's up to the party's caucus. Ms Collins says if speculation one of the contestants is about to drop out is true, "they should do it" now before Tuesday's vote. But it won't be her.

"I think I'm having a good shot at this, and we'll see how we go."

The National Party leadership is decided by preferential voting. Each MP will rank the candidates in order of preference. If no MP wins an outright majority at first, the bottom-ranked contender's votes are distributed to their second-choice, and the votes recounted.

The process continues until someone has a majority and is elected leader. It's the same system that was used to decide which alternative design would face off against the incumbent in the first half of the flag referendum.

"We've got the vote on Tuesday, and I expect it will be a great process," said Ms Collins. "I've loved every minute of it."

Contrasts with the Greens

The Green Party is also electing a new female co-leader, but despite only two contenders it's a much more drawn-out process. Each branch of the party will ask its local members who they want, and then the delegates will vote on a leader - either Marama Davidson or Julie Anne Genter.

Judith Collins and Julie Anne Genter.
Judith Collins and Julie Anne Genter. Photo credit: The AM Show

Despite Metiria Turei's resignation of the co-leadership before last year's election, her replacement won't be known until April.

"The feedback so far is that they'd like both of us," Ms Genter told The AM Show.

"We're both wonderful. It's very Green Party, it's very friendly."

She has "no idea" which way the members will vote, saying she and Ms Davidson have different backgrounds and skills.

"I would say I have more political experience, but she's got a lot of talent."

Ms Collins told her she "can't let those boys be in charge", referring to lone leader James Shaw. The Greens have always had a male and female co-leadership team.

"He's done an excelling job under difficult circumstances," said Ms Genter.


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