National MPs vote against Judith Collins, Shane Reti on fluoride policy in rare move for caucus

Newshub can reveal yet more discord in the National Party, this time over fluoridation - in an extremely rare move, MPs voted down the leadership on a key health policy. 

The Government has proposed making Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield responsible for fluoride in water to protect Kiwis and their kids' teeth, rather than the region-by-region approach. 

National's leadership, Judith Collins and her deputy Dr Shane Reti wanted National to oppose the proposed changes, believing it to be an overreach. But the caucus disagreed and voted the leadership down. 

It doesn't bode well for Collins. It's not a good day in the leadership office when your MPs override your decision on an important public health issue. 

National MPs have told Newshub this is incredibly rare and almost unheard of. 

One National MP said it's even rare to have these votes in caucus, and that it shows indecisiveness and lack of belief from Collins. 

National leader Judith Collins and deputy leader Dr Shane Reti.
National leader Judith Collins and deputy leader Dr Shane Reti. Photo credit: Newshub / Zane Small

Another National MP says she's confused about what Collins stands for. 

"There's no way the party will go into 2023 with Collins as leader," the MP said. 

Remember, National's caucus meetings are supposed to be top secret and impenetrable, but once against the caucus is leaking like a sieve.