NZ Election 2020: Judith Collins doesn't believe colleagues are conspiring against her

National's Judith Collins doesn't believe any of her colleagues are conspiring against her, and instead, she's urging MPs to focus on the future and not the past.

The centre-right party's caucus met on Tuesday for the first time since their election drubbing, farewelling MPs who chose to retire as well as many who have lost their roles.

Since National received just 26.8 percent of the vote, there's been speculation about how long Collins may remain on as leader. MPs were leaking to Newshub on Monday, saying it's "highly, highly unlikely" Collins would be in charge at the next election.

Despite that, the Papakura MP wants to be leader going into the 2023 contest.

"Oh yes. My view is very much that this is always something that the party needs to decide and if they want to back me to do that, that is fine and I am very happy to do it. My view, very clearly, is whoever is the right person for the job, and I believe that would be me. But look we will wait and see," she told The AM Show on Wednesday.

"I am not there for the glory. I am actually someone who gets hunkered down and does the work and that is what I am there for."

Collins was asked if she had a message for anyone potentially organising against her. 

"I don't think anybody is. I just say, look just keep focused on the job. We can't be each other's enemies," Collins said. 

"We are absolutely on the same team and our job is to represent the people of New Zealand who feel absolutely disenfranchised and unconnected to the current Government and that is what we are going to do."

Collins said her focus was on making those in Government "work for their money and work for the people of New Zealand because they made big promises". 

"I am going to be very happy working with the team to make sure that they actually at least attempt to do that, to follow through." 

Being the Leader of the Opposition is a tough gig, Collins said.

"If anyone comes into politics desperately wanting to be the Leader of the Opposition, then maybe they actually shouldn't be in politics.

"It's obviously tough. As you know, I have only been in the role for three months and most of that has been during the campaign and the COVID lockdowns. I am just looking forward to getting on to the job to hold the Government to account."

Collins was elected the party's leader in mid-July following the sudden resignation of Todd Muller. Muller had rolled Simon Bridges as leader in May, but stood down from the role citing health reasons. 

After failing to gain traction during the first COVID-19 lockdown, National was hit hard in the middle of the year by several scandals, including the Hamish Walker COVID-19 data leak and Andrew Falloon being accused of sending intimate images to young women.

According to Collins, after her rise to the leadership, National rebounded to up to 40 percent in internal polling. However, she claims the Auckland lockdown sent that nosediving.

National's election campaign was hampered by leaks to Newshub, including that of an internal email expressing disapproval with Collins intention to review Auckland Council. Collins said on Sunday that leak cost the party 5 percentage points.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday ahead of the caucus meeting, several National MPs said they wanted anyone who had leaked to front up.

"Shape up or ship out. Do not stick around thinking that you are in any way advancing the interests of the party by behaving in that despicable way. You have cost a number of people their jobs," outgoing MP Tim Macindoe said.

The party's whip Barbara Kuriger said there's no room for leakers in the caucus. 

"Just stop it, shape up or get out... We are only going to win if we are a team. I am focused on 2023. Everyone who remains in that room needs to be focused on 2023. That's where we have got to go."

Asked about her colleagues' comments, Collins said she had made it "very plain" during the caucus meeting that "we are to look forward not backwards". 

"I am not interested in wasting time, resources or energy focussed on what somebody might have said somewhere. I am absolutely focused on moving ahead. That's the only trying to do. You can't do a good job in Opposition looking back over your shoulder all of the time."

The National leader said it wasn't just the internal issues that contributed to the party's horrific defeat, but that Kiwis don't usually kick a Government out after just one term. The last time that happened was in the 1970s. 

But the party will spend some time looking backwards. It will have a large review of the party's processes, which Collins has promised will be robust but not seeking to "blame people".

"That's to make sure that we don't make the same errors and also to say what good things went really well, what didn't go well," she told The AM Show.

"It is a good time after the last really big look at the constitution of the party and real review of everything in 2002, to now go back and say, well did we get all of the candidate selections right, are we doing things on processes here." 

On Tuesday, she told media that she put everything she could into the COVID-19 disrupted election campaign

"But there are a few things that I thought 'oh goodness, why'd I do that?' But that's the nature of the beast and we're not going to go down a forensic look at that today... That's why we have a review. There are some things I thought I could've done better."

She wouldn't say what those things were, however.