Judith Collins says she wouldn't resign even if National caucus had numbers to roll her

Judith Collins is refusing to take responsibility for the National Party's continued poor polling - instead blaming the lockdown and "those who do not want the National Party to do well".

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, released earlier this week, had National on just 26.9 percent - basically unchanged in the past year, despite the unravelling of the Government's incredibly popular COVID-19 elimination strategy. 

Since Collins took the reins in mid-2020, National has only once polled above 30 percent - well below the 35 percent threshold she once said would be a trigger for her resignation.

Her own preferred Prime Minister polling is half that of ACT's David Seymour and almost seven times lower than Jacinda Ardern's; and more than 58 percent of voters think she's performing badly, nearly twice the number who hold the same view Ardern's leadership. 

The poor results have renewed speculation she could face a leadership challenge

Asked on The AM Show on Wednesday if she'd resign if it was clear another MP had the numbers to roll her, Collins said she wouldn't. 

"No. It's really clear that we've been under sustained attack for at least 18 months and particularly the last year from everywhere - from the left, from those who do not want the National Party to do well. 

"It is also important that we have the courage - Shane Reti and myself, and the leadership team - to have the courage to keep on going because we have a policy plan."

She said the result was also "an indication of the fact we're currently in a pandemic".

But Collins insists National's poor result "isn't a problem" because ACT is on the rise. It's expected if National is to lead the next Government, it will need a support partner such as ACT. ACT was up 4.9 percent to 16. Based on those numbers, National-ACT would have 54 of the 61 it needs to win, while Labour and the Greens together would have 63. 

"What is important is the entre-right vote is actually going in the right direction," said Collins. "Depending on which poll you see, some polls have ACT as absolutely stagnant where they are. Others have us going up."

The latest Talbot Mills poll did have National up - from 22 percent to 24; Curia had the party rising from 22.5 to 26.2; and 1News-Colmar Brunton from 26 to 28. 

"Every Leader of the Opposition has to have the courage to keep on going, the spine to do it and the plan to do it. I've got that, and that's why I'm staying," said Collins, claiming she hasn't heard from potential usurpers Simon Bridges or Christopher Luxon, who both registered 2.5 percent as preferred Prime Minister in the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll.

"Everyone's working very hard. We've just got to make sure that we get more cut-through on things."