NZ Election 2020: National leader Judith Collins rules out Advance NZ partnership because she's 'not insane'

National Party leader Judith Collins has ruled out working with Advance NZ because she's "not insane", drawing cheers and applause from her caucus colleagues. 

Advance NZ is co-led by former National MP Jami-Lee Ross, who's joined up with Billy Te Kahika' NZ Public Party - which has found a following in people who believe the COVID-19 pandemic is being used to strip people's civil liberties.

In a speech in June at the Akarana Yacht Club in Auckland, Te Kahika said: "We will live in a radiated atmosphere of 5G technology that destroys DNA, destroys and causes cancers in us, destroys our immune systems."

Te Kahika is running in the Māori electorate of Te Tai Tokerau in Northland, where Collins was campaigning on Thursday. She was asked if she could rule out National working with Advance NZ if the latter was able to get into Parliament. 

"Absolutely," she said, "because I'm not insane."

Collins' response drew laughter and cheers from her fellow National MPs, including Scott Simpson and Northland candidate Matt King. 

Collins was asked if she's surprised by Advance NZ's following. 

"I must say I'm mildly surprised. I guess they'd have nothing else to do? I was mildly surprised at my own 'meet the candidates' in my electorate the other night, to hear the Advance party's policies, that 5G is causing all sorts of problems in the world," she said. 

"I thought there was obviously a lack of embracing of science in our schools. It's such a good thing we've got scholarships planned for science, technology, engineering and maths in schools because clearly we need it."

On Thursday, the High Court ruled in favour of MediaWorks show Newshub Nation excluding the party from its Powerbrokers' Debate scheduled to air on Saturday. 

Ross said the decision is disappointing. 

"The High Court has just helped MediaWorks stack the deck even further against democracy. We took this case because we believe in free speech," he said. 

"Advance NZ does stand a real prospect of election this year, with Billy Te Kahika in a strong position to win in Te Tai Tokerau. Voters deserve to see just how well he matches up against politicians from the other parties set to enter Parliament."

MediaWorks said its criteria for participation in the debate had been in place since July, and is 'leaders of parties that have won seats in the last two parliamentary terms'.

Collins was also asked if she could work with the New Conservatives, which were on 2.1 percent in Newshub's latest poll - higher than New Zealand First on 1.5 percent. 

"I don't think that's going to be a problem," Collins said. "I think we're fine."

New Conservative leader Leighton Baker told The AM Show there are 14 percent of undecided voters, and urged people to give them their vote to strengthen the centre-right. 

"A smart deal is actually vote for us and boost the numbers," he said. "We're the only party apart from Labour with candidates in every single electorate."

He said reaching the 5 percent threshold is "not an easy road" but "you've got to start somewhere". 

Baker said his party is opposed to same-sex marriage but would not seek to change it. The New Conservatives are also against the abortion law reforms, and are calling for referendums to be binding.