Judith Collins blames latest leadership spill rumours on Labour 'activists'

Judith Collins has dismissed rumours one of her caucus was running the numbers on a leadership challenge at the weekend, placing the blame on Labour Party "activists". 

Twitter lit up on Saturday evening after Shane te Pou, a political commentator linked to Labour, wrote: "Nat MPs doing the numbers folks the spill is on."

He went further, saying deputy leader Shane Reti had "turned against his leader".

"The deal is he goes as deputy but keeps health," Te Pou wrote, adding half-an-hour later Chris Bishop had been made finance spokesperson and would go back to being Shadow Leader of the House. 

Collins would go "to the back benches" with no major portfolios, Te Pou claimed, saying she would be "excluded from caucus" if she "plays up". 

Appearing on The AM Show on Wednesday, Collins laughed off the claims her rocky time in charge of the National Party would soon be at an end.

"Certainly not. I think that it was pretty amazing that the Labour Party seem to be coming through from some of their activists."

According to his profile on numerous websites he's written for, te Pou is a "former candidate, campaign manager and executive member of the Labour Party". He currently has more than 6300 followers on Twitter. 

Collins said her MPs were instead spending Saturday night "focused on their jobs". 

"Look, we were dealing with a situation where we had seven people injured from the Lynnmall terrorist situation and there they were trying to play silly games. Just get on, do the job I say and do the role of Government."

Te Pou is not in Government. It doesn't appear the tweet was liked or retweeted by anyone who is, but it was shared by one of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's former close advisers. 

Collins once said she'd resign as leader if she took National to below 35 percent in the polls. Since taking over last year, National has never polled that high in any mainstream media polling. 

The highest National has rated under Collins in the Newshub-Reid Research poll is 31.1 percent, in October 2020. In July, she fell below ACT leader David Seymour in the preferred Prime Minister stakes

Bishop, an active Twitter user, didn't respond to Te Pou's tweet - spending the night tweeting about the weather, COVID-19 vaccines and Kiwi rock music

Later challenged on the accuracy of his claims, Te Pou tweeted "you just wait… you won't have to wait long".