Judith Collins Named National Party’s New Leader
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, widely known for her exhortations to kindness and compassion, will face Judith Collins – a combative, tough-talking conservative lawmaker who styled herself after Margaret Thatcher – in the country’s general election in September following a leadership vote in the centre-right National party, Charlotte Graham-McLay writes for The Guardian.
Collins, 61, who has long held leadership ambitions but whose party is floundering in the polls, will face an uphill battle to persuade voters away from Ardern, one of the most popular New Zealand prime ministers of all time, Graham-McLay writes for the UK-based newspaper.
The new party leader was staunch when she took the podium, surrounded by her MPs, after National held a late-night, closed-door vote at New Zealand’s parliament in Wellington, following the shock resignation on of Todd Muller.
He quit abruptly after leading the party for a volatile 53 days – the shortest stint in its history.
Collins favoured her own “experience, toughness, the ability to make decisions” over Ardern’s, she said. Ardern had been underestimated by her own party, Collins said, and deserved respect as a person.
“But our team is better than their team,” she added.
Original article by Charlotte Graham-McLay, The Guardian, July 14, 2020.