Leak: Some in National say the writing is on the wall - they'll lose the election

ANALYSIS: Newshub has been told by some in the National Party there’s a sense the writing is on the wall; that National is going to lose this election. 

Newshub was told if that happens, Judith Collins being rolled is a case of when, not if. So although she says she wants to stay on, some in National feel very differently.

There’s growing frustration in the caucus. There’s a degree of pre-positioning for the next leadership contest, but the fact it’s happening now - so close to an election rather than afterwards - is about as bad as it gets.

Labour is making hay from the dissent. A couple of people in Labour contacted Newshub on Tuesday afternoon wanting to offer their reckons on how gnarly it is, and Grant Robertson didn’t waste any time getting a press release out calling National a shambles. The National Party white-anting against the leadership team has begun big time.

Ardern is likely to kick Collins on that dissent within the National Party when the gloves come off tonight in The Press leaders' debate.

That's not where the troubles end for National - the party's deputy leader Gerry Brownlee has unreservedly apologised after flying off the handle at a journalist for asking him a question on health policy. 

Brownlee took exception to being asked a question about a Labour health announcement, as it did not directly relate to his portfolios. 

Newshub had organised the interview to take place last Tuesday. The National party media team were alerted to the likely topics of the interview. A Wellington based staff member did the interview on behalf of our political team. 

Brownlee lashed out as he was not across the policy. 

'"Is it Anna Bracewell Worrall? Yep. She should know better than asking this. Your people give me the shits. They're bloody lazy as buggery," Brownlee said.

Robust banter - even rudeness - can be expected between political foes, and there are some MPs you expect it from against the media - Winston Peters appears front of mind. 

But as evidenced by Gerry Brownlee it's spreading.

David Seymour accused one Newshub producer of failing to understand a question about the minor-party leaders' bottom lines, saying, "I don't think you understand the question you're asking, to be perfectly honest".

Seymour thinks he's mostly behaved appropriately. 

"I've absolutely done my best to conduct myself well at every turn, but nobody's perfect," he told Newhsub 

Today, most party leaders placed a moratorium on rudeness - chill guys, just chill.

"I think that people do get tetchy on the campaign trail because they get tired, but I don't think that's an excuse for rudeness," Green co-leader James Shaw said. 

Ardern said it's the job of MPs "to be the face of the party", and Collins said, "I think it's always best never to be rude myself."

The two major party leaders had very different days ahead of their southern clash. Jacinda Ardern met with the good people of Lyttelton - possibly all of them; she was surrounded by crowds - while Collins continued to roll out policy.

And both leaders have made a call about tonight's debate strategy.

"I'm going to bring Judith - just be myself," Collins said.

"I think a really robust exchange," Ardern said. 

Which - based on last week's Newshub leaders' debate - will be mega