Willie Jackson goes for Judith Collins' jugular over 'racially divisive' remarks

Labour MP Willie Jackson has gone for Judith Collins' jugular in a savage Facebook post, accusing her of making "racially divisive" remarks to get "anti-Māori" votes.

Jackson has regularly appeared on The AM Show opposite the new National Party leader and says he's seen her up close. As a result, he's "redoubling" his energies to prevent her becoming the next Prime Minister.

"We don't need a PM like Judith with her legacy of dirty politics scandals, and we don't need a PM who has a very casual attitude towards the Treaty and comes up with ridiculous lines like 'is there something wrong with me being white'," Jackson wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

"She knows how stupid and racially divisive that comment is but she says it deliberately to attract the anti-Treaty, anti-Māori right-wing vote.

"The ironic part, of course, is that she is not a raving racist or redneck but more the politician who will do anything and say anything to get her team across the line."

Collins has repeatedly asked if there's "something wrong with being white" in response to questions about ethnic representation in the National Party.

She's also said she won't be considering diversity when making changes to her party's line-up.

Jackson said we need a prime minister with empathy, insight and kindness - and warns these are not Collins' strengths.

"We need a Prime Minister who can run New Zealand for all of us, but Judith is an 'Us-Them' type of politician," he wrote.

"I believe Judith winning the election would be a disaster for New Zealand. Her divisive political instincts was the reason why she could never win the National leadership and is why John Key never supported her.

"Everyone who has been impressed by Jacinda and have felt taller for her leadership need to rally now to the cause to ensure a second term, because a first term of Judith Collins would be as culturally shocking to us as Trump's victory in America."

Jackson has previously defended Collins against accusations of racism after Collins described herself as a "woman of colour" in a now-deleted 2019 tweet in response to a Bill introduced to Parliament to ban female genital mutilation.

"MPs band together for female genital mutilation ban," she wrote. "I am a woman of colour - the colour white - and I fully support a ban on this mutilation inflicted on women."

Collins later apologised, revealing a staffer had convinced her it was insulting and should be taken down.

"Judith obviously is not a woman of colour, but she is a woman of some substance, alright? We get sensitive about everything. I do understand why some of our people would be," Jackson said on The AM Show following the incident.

"Judith was actually supporting women of colour, but women of colour are women who are right at the bottom of the heap, that's what they're saying. They've been racially discriminated against, they haven't had an opportunity. Some might get upset, but Judith has proven herself with a lot of Māori women out in Papakura and they know that she supports them. 

"Judith's a bit like Shane Jones - they can be incredibly brilliant, and now and then, stupid. That was an example of it."

According to RNZ, Collins is exploring the possibility of National contesting the Māori seats in Parliament for the first time since 2002.