Newshub understands Sir John Key has shown support for Judith Collins

Newshub understands former Prime Minister Sir John Key has shown some support behind the scenes for Judith Collins to be National leader. 

Key would not confirm this to Newshub, only to say, "I don't comment on leadership issues" - but because of his standing in the party, MPs still go to him for advice and he commands huge respect in the National Caucus. 

An endorsement - or even a subtle nod - could be a game-changer. 

Newshub was also leaked details of the National Party's Caucus meeting on Tuesday, which included a specific warning to MPs not to talk to Newshub. 

Simon Bridges survived another day as leader of the National Party as well as his first showdown with MPs after some started laying the groundwork for a coup in favour of Judith Collins.

Arriving at Parliament on Tuesday, Collins was asked how she felt, to which she replied: "Fabulous, thank you."

A spring in her step, the day started well for Collins. She said she felt good because she attended Dancing with the Stars NZ on Monday night. 

But it wasn't her appearance in that audience that had National talking - it was moves of a different kind. 

Collins was asked if there would be talk of leadership at National's Caucus meeting, to which she replied: "I don't know."

She was then asked if she would rule out a leadership bid, to which she said: "I'm not doing anything at the moment that I'm aware of - certainly not today."

National's Caucus meeting was Bridges' first face off with all his MPs in two weeks and since some of them started seriously stirring against his leadership, saying the numbers are firming up for Collins.

National MPs holed up for more than two hours in the meeting, and Bridges emerged victorious. 

Asked if he was still leader of the National Party, Bridges responded: "Yeah, I am, and it feels great."

What goes on at Caucus is supposed to stay at Caucus. 

National deputy leader Paula Bennett was asked if leadership came up, and she said: "I'm not going to discuss anything that happened in our Caucus."

But discipline, leaking and talking to the media did all come up, which was leaked to Newshub.

Bridges said he's confident in his Caucus, and said he wouldn't talk about "what I did and didn't do". 

But Bridges can't just hope or pray for the best - he needs to crush Collins before he's crushed by her. 

Asked if she could just say the words 'I am loyal to Simon Bridges', Collins said: "I support the leader". 

Bridges was equally tongue-tied over whether he trusts Collins. 

Asked if he could say 'I trust Judith Collins', Bridges said: "I trust my colleagues and I'm not going to play these semantic silly games."

Three hours later, he got there.

"Yes I do trust my Caucus, I trust Judith Collins."

Regardless, it's all a bit of an own-goal. 

The Government's having a field day. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in Parliament: "Raising leadership issues today, bold call Mr Bridges."

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said: "He's a goner - sad to say, nice bloke, but not up to it."

That's not for Winston Peters to decide - but it may not be up to Simon Bridges either.