National leader Judith Collins' claim NSW 'dealt with' COVID-19 better than NZ fact-checked as 'mostly false'

 - With Lee Umbers of AAP FactCheck

National leader Judith Collins has been called out for "mostly false" claims she made comparing New Zealand's COVID-19 response to the Australian state of New South Wales.

In an interview with The AM Show on Wednesday, Collins said Australia had "dealt with the COVID situation so much better in every state other than Victoria". 

"If I look at New South Wales, what, they've had about six [or] nine deaths? Western Australia about six [deaths]?"

But Australia Government Health Department figures show that as of Wednesday NSW's death toll was 53, while WA's was nine. New Zealand recorded its 25th COVID-related death on that same day.

"NSW has recorded more than twice the number of COVID-19 deaths in NZ (as at September 21), refuting Ms Collins' assertion NSW had fewer fatalities than her entire nation," AAP FactCheck says.

During the interview, Collins also said NSW's economy is "booming".

"I just look at countries, or states rather, like NSW - actually bigger populations than us, fewer deaths.

"Their economy is booming and you can go to the rugby."

AAP FactCheck says the "booming" economy claim isn't supported, with figures showing Australia is technically in a recession, including NSW.

"Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on September 2, 2020, show Australia’s Gross Domestic Product fell 7.0 percent in the June quarter, the largest quarterly fall on record. That followed a fall of 0.3 percent in the March quarter 2020.

"New Zealand, too, is in a recession. Figures from Stats NZ on September 17, 2020, show the economy shrunk by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter. That followed a 1.4 percent fall in the first quarter."

Collins, however, was right in saying NSW has a bigger population than NZ - more than 8.1 million compared with just over 5 million - and she was also correct in saying people are allowed to attend rugby games in the Australian state.

Overall, Collins' claims were "mostly false with a minor element of truth", AAP says.

A spokesperson for Collins said she had no comment in response to the fact-check.

AAP FactCheck / Newshub.