NZ Election 2020: Judith Collins thinks William Wood's apology for Hitler impersonation 'showed maturity'

Judith Collins has commended National candidate William Wood for apologising after an image showed him impersonating Adolf Hitler. 

Wood, the 18-year-old National candidate in the Palmerston North electorate, apologised on Tuesday after an image surfaced online showing him imitating the German dictator.

"The photo was taken when I was 14. It was an error on my part. I apologise for any offence that it may have caused."

Collins told The AM Show on Wednesday that it was "hardly a story", but it was good to apologise for these types of issues.

"For goodness sake, 14. Come on. It is just ridiculous. He has apologised, he has done everything he should, but 14, come on," she said.

"I think it is good to apologise on issues like this, but it was a pretty silly thing and 14-year-old guys, I mean, I have met him a couple of times and he is very, very mature. He has learnt a lot. I can tell you, 14, come on. That is hardly a story."

The National Party leader didn't force the teenager to apologise, she said.

"I didn't tell him to apologise. He chose to apologise. I thought that showed a lot of maturity."

Asked if she had ever dressed up as anything inappropriate, Collins did reveal to The AM Show that she had something to apologise for. 

"I don't think I have ever dressed up, ever been a dressy-up type person. But I probably must apologise for once wearing culottes, but I was nine at the time. They had orange circles and brown circles. 

"It was the days when orange and brown were really in, in the late 60s, and I remember how dreadful they look in those photos. I do apologise to everybody for that."

Wood, who turned 18 in January, was chosen to be the National Party candidate in the North Island seat back in November. 

Only weeks after his selection, the teenager was in the headlines after an image emerged of him and five friends outside Parliament, with one person pulling a hand gesture associated with white supremacists. A spokesperson for Wood at the time rejected it was a white supremacist hand gesture.

Palmerston North is currently held by Labour's Iain Lees-Galloway, but he announced his intention to retire from politics at the election after being sacked as a minister for having an affair with a former staffer. Lees-Galloway will be replaced as the Labour candidate by Palmerston North deputy Mayor Tangi Utikere.