Judith Collins says she won't face leadership challenge soon, 'if ever'

Judith Collins doubts she'll face any challenges for the National Party leadership before the next election, "if ever". 

Collins, who took the reins in July during a tumultuous year for National, admits she led the party to a "big, fat stonking loss" at the election in October - but maintains her job is safe.

"No, not at all," she told AM Show host Duncan Garner on Wednesday, who asked if her caucus colleagues were plotting a coup.

"What I do think is that everyone's very focused on doing their job. There's nothing like a big, fat stonking loss to make everyone really focused on what's important... We've had a great two-day caucus, we had a great time at Waitangi, really good caucus yesterday, really dealt with some big issues, and we came out with really good resolutions which were consensus ones, and I think that's really important."

National was thumped at the election, getting barely half the vote Labour got and losing 23 seats in the process. Collins was the party's third leader in a matter of months, after Todd Muller rolled Simon Bridges then stepped down over mental health concerns less than two months later.

It was her third run for the job, and the first time she had been successful. 

Early in 2020 National was polling strongly - in the mid-40s - but that collapsed to just 25.6 percent at the ballot box. The few opinion polls conducted since then haven't shown any improvement in the party's fortunes.

If potential coalition partner ACT maintains its level of support through to 2023, National will likely need to poll back up in the low- to mid-40s in order to form the next Government. Collins is sure she'll still be leading National then.

"Obviously I'm not challenged and I don't believe I will be anytime until after the next election, if ever. I don't think it will be then because I should be Prime Minister then."

If she fails, Collins isn't ruling out anything - telling Garner she'd even pick fruit for a living if she "had to". 

"I always think you should take up everything. Some of the jobs that I've done when I was a student in particular, people would be surprised at. You do what you have to do."