NZ Election 2020: Judith Collins on why National lost, how it can win 2023 election

Leader of the National Party Judith Collins said her party was "far too focussed on itself" this past year and "did not spend enough time talking about the things that matter".

At National's AGM in Wellington on Saturday, Collins delivered a speech reflecting on why the party lost and how it plans to take out the 2023 election.

Growing the tech industry, not adding taxes, "exposing the Government's wasteful spending", taking a "radical" look at education, and infrastructure improvements were all included as ways National plans to get ahead in 2023.

Speaking on why National lost, Collins said the party didn't concentrate enough on COVID-19 and other challenges facing the country.

"We did not spend enough time talking about the things that matter to New Zealanders. The consequence of that can be seen in our election result and our reduced caucus."

Collins said it was "tough" to watch so many National MPs leave Parliament, adding the party will reflect and review on what led to their devastating election night result. 

Following the final election results, National has a meagre 33 seats in Parliament and received only 25.6 percent of the total vote. 

Collins said those 33 MPs will take the review of election results "extremely seriously," adding that the party will only recover if they are to be "united".

"Right now, victory in 2023 might seem like a big hill to climb, but it is not beyond us. Faced with such a hill, I believe we must not over complicate things."

Outlining how National would have a shot at the 2023 election she said the main priority will be to stick to the party's values and use them to make changes and present the party as an "inspiring alternative".

"I believe we recover from COVID-19 by empowering people and businesses to invest and grow, not by adding more tax to those who get ahead."

"We will expose the Government’s wasteful spending and the costs it is putting on businesses, the shackles holding back innovation and entrepreneurship, the closed thinking that hinders progress across so many policy areas, the failure of imagination, the lack of ambition, and the tolerance for bland mediocrity."

Collins spoke heavily of the importance of technology, manufacturing and artificial intelligence - a portfolio she has assigned herself.

"I’m excited about the potential of these sectors. Tech exports by themselves are already NZ$8 billion, similar to our total meat exports."

"The world is going to change in response to COVID-19 and we are going to change with it. I will work over the next three years to bring a big and bold tech policy to the 2023 election."

Collins also explained the opportunity COVID-19 brings to the country, saying Kiwis returning from overseas will be able to provide "brain gain" to the tech industry.

She backed Paul Goldsmith's shift to the education portfolio, touching on how the education system is failing New Zealand students and spoke on what new MP Christopher Luxton will be working on.

"Local government is failing to deliver the roading and water infrastructure this country needs. It is failing to deliver better housing, transport or value for money. Christopher Luxon will be looking at ways to bring local government policy into the 21st century."

Collins' speech concluded by saying National will bring change that is needed to grow post-pandemic, and again mentioned her "big bold" tech policy she plans to introduce.

"We will show that Labour cannot deliver the future New Zealand deserves. We will be a robust Opposition. We will hold the Government to account. We will show we have the ideas and the plans to deliver better housing, better transport, safer communities and more jobs."

 "My fellow members, I believe National is at its best when we speak to the aspirations of New Zealanders, when we voice your hopes and give you reason to believe they can be realised."

Watch the full speech above.