They Are Us: National leader Judith Collins dismisses calls to cancel Christchurch terror attack film

National leader Judith Collins has dismissed calls to cancel the film They Are Us about the Christchurch terror attack, centred on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

Collins said on Monday New Zealand is a "free and democratic society" and agreed with Magic Talk's Peter Williams that the filmmakers should not be stopped from producing it. 

The Muslim community has lashed out at the filmmakers for not consulting them and for focusing it on a white woman. A petition launched on Friday seeking to have the project cancelled has gathered more than 58,000 signatures. 

The film, directed by Kiwi Andrew Niccol and starring Australian actress Rose Byrne as Ardern, has already suffered the loss of one of its producers, Philippa Campbell, who has announced she no longer wants to be involved. 

Speaking to Magic Talk on Monday, Collins agreed with radio host Peter Williams' opinion the filmmakers should not be stopped from producing the film.

"I think you're making a very fair point," Collins told Williams, adding New Zealand is a "free and democratic society".

"I can understand people who have lost family saying 'hang on, you never talked to us about it, how are you going to treat us?' But ultimately, in a free society, people can spend their own money doing things like this. I certainly wouldn't be bothered watching it and I'm sure many other people wouldn't either."

Ardern told The AM Show on Monday she was "deeply uncomfortable" with the focus of the film. 

She said she found out about it on Thursday, the day before details were published in the media. People involved in the film contacted the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage "as a courtesy". 

A spokesperson for the New Zealand Film Commission told Newshub the film producers intend to apply for the New Zealand Screen Production Grant - part of the Government's screen incentives scheme. 

Collins is adamant the film should not receive Government funding. She's also sceptical about the Government not knowing about the project sooner. 

"I find it interesting that the Government, which is so deeply immersed with the left-wing glitterati, that they apparently didn't know anything about it. I just find that bizarre," she told Magic Talk. 

"They're clearly not hanging out with the people they normally hang out with."

Ardern said while she did not support the film's focus, she won't shut it down and won't sign the petition calling for it to be cancelled. 

"It's not my job," she told The AM Show. "People would be pretty outraged if I tried to stop movies generally that I didn't like being made."

But Ardern said she shared the views of those calling for it to be canned. 

"[I share] much of the same sentiment that you have heard from others that it feels so raw for us all, not least the community. 

"My other reaction... [was] there are stories to be told from March 15 but I don't consider mine to be one of them. I consider the stories that need to be told from the Muslim community."