Judith Collins hits out at Shane Jones, avoids talking about political polls

National Party leader Judith Collins has taken aim at several Government MPs and promoted a proposed transport policy in an effort to talk about anything but her party's performance in recent polls.

National fell 5.5 points to 25.1 percent in the latest Newshub-Reid Research Poll released on Sunday, compared with Labour climbing 4.4 points to 60.9 percent.

While visiting Palmerston North on Monday, Collins had a go at New Zealand First MP Shane Jones, saying he's a "very naughty little boy". She also targeted the Greens, who have previously said "tax is love".

"I don't know about you, but if tax is love then I've had too much love," Collins said.

She also slammed the Government's COVID-19 response and the number of people who have escaped managed isolation.

"When I was Minister of Corrections, nobody escaped."

Collins was keen to talk about anything but National polling, saying: "I'm really here to talk about the ring road."

She's vowing to fast-track Palmerston North's rural ring road as part of the party's $30 billion transport package.

If elected to govern, she says National will begin building the road in about six months' time and will finish it "as soon as we can".

The Palmerston North seat was to be contested by Iain Lees-Galloway, but he was fired by the Prime Minister for having a relationship with a staffer.

Labour moved swiftly to find a new candidate and have selected the city's current Deputy Mayor Tangi Utikere.

"If you asked me what I was going to do a week ago I would not have said I would be contesting the seat," he says.

Utikere has been a Labour member longer than his 18-year-old competition, National's William Wood, has been alive.