Next Deputy PM? Marama Davidson dismisses Judith Collins' 'desperate' attack as Jacinda Ardern stands by Kelvin Davis

Marama Davidson has dismissed Judith Collins' "desperate" attack on the prospect of her becoming Deputy Prime Minister as Jacinda Ardern stands by Kelvin Davis over Grant Robertson in the role. 

National leader Judith Collins took a crack at the Greens on Wednesday ahead of the election on Saturday, ramping up speculation that Labour would adopt their wealth tax policy despite Jacinda Ardern ruling it out. 

Collins accused the Greens of not paying tax before entering politics and warned her crowd of supporters that if Labour and the Greens formed a coalition, co-leader Marama Davidson could become Deputy Prime Minister. 

"I think they should be very concerned... the Deputy Prime Ministership of Marama Davidson would be challenging I think for the country," Collins told a crowd of supporters in Hamilton. 

Davidson said on Thursday Collins' attack was desperate. 

"Sounds like a desperate bid for the National Party who, unfortunately, their campaign has been in complete and utter chaos," she told Newshub during a visit to Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae in Auckland. 

Collins reminded her supporters about Davidson saying "tax is love" during an interview with TVNZ in July during a discussion about inequality, as she stirred up speculation the Greens will force Labour into a wealth tax. 

But Davidson and co-leader James Shaw confirmed to The AM Show on Thursday that a wealth tax is not a bottom line for the Greens in any coalition negotiations and that it's just one of their top priorities.  

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson speaking to Newshub at Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae in Mangere East, Auckland.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson speaking to Newshub at Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae in Mangere East, Auckland. Photo credit: Newshub

"We will work productively with Labour to get stronger action for climate, biodiversity and for families and people and that is what we are taking to the voters out there and I'm really pleased to hear that people understand what our vision is," Davidson told Newshub. 

She said she hasn't given any thought to becoming Deputy Prime Minister, a position currently held by Winston Peters who leads NZ First, which is polling below the 5 percent threshold to get back into Parliament. 

"All of the roles that we will be discussing will relate to how we can get our work programme done. So, I do not have any opinion because that is for the party to decide once we have the votes and again, it will go back to how our work programme can be done," Davidson said. 

"We're encouraged by the trend of polls, particularly in the past couple of weeks that see support for the Greens above 5 percent but we are not resting on our laurels."

Newshub's latest poll showed the Greens on 6.5 percent meaning they would get back into Parliament and if they formed a coalition with Labour, there's a chance a Green co-leader could become Deputy Prime Minister. 

But Newshub's poll also showed Labour could govern alone on 50.1 percent, meaning Labour's deputy leader Kelvin Davis could become Deputy Prime Minister. 

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and Labour's deputy leader Kelvin Davis.
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and Labour's deputy leader Kelvin Davis. Photo credit: Getty

A new NZ Herald-Kantar Vote 2020 poll has found that just 14 percent would like to see Davis as Deputy Prime Minister compared to 36 percent who would prefer Labour's finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. 

Ardern said on Thursday she would not get into any "hypotheticals" around ministerial portfolios before voters have had their say, but she confirmed there are no plans to shift Davis from the deputy role. 

"I've said that I already have our deputy leader of the Labour Party," she told reporters. "He is our deputy of the Labour Party and it's staying that way."

She criticised Collins for stirring the pot and linking Labour to the Greens' wealth tax policy despite Labour repeatedly ruling it out, describing National's campaign as "desperate" in the final days. 

"Some of the tactics that have been used in the latter part I have called desperate. Some of the framing around different parties' policies," she said. 

"You'll see, for instance, we have not made assumptions about ACT's policies automatically becoming the policy of the National Party and yet you see the reverse happening daily."

Collins argued her campaign has been "relentlessly positive" - a dig at Ardern promising to bring "relentless positivity" to the party ahead of the 2017 election campaign. 

National leader Judith Collins says her campaign has been "relentlessly positive".
National leader Judith Collins says her campaign has been "relentlessly positive". Photo credit: Getty

"Do you know, it's been relentless - relentlessly positive. That's what we've been doing," Collins told reporters in Auckland. 

"Every day has been another day to go out and share a vision for New Zealand that is not another Tasmanian one, but is actually about us being a wonderfully exciting place to be... We don't want to be the poor cousin of the rest of Australia as poor Tasmania is."

Collins described Labour's campaign as "sort of, I don't know, love and hugs". 

Despite the latest Newshub poll showing National on 29.6 percent against Labour on 50.1 percent, Collins insisted there was still a path to victory for her party and that she was the right person to lead it. 

"I never give up, I'm just not like that and I'm not one of those people who does."