Todd Muller and Simon Bridges were novices - Matt McCarten

By Bronson Perich

Former Alliance party leader Matt McCarten says the last two National Party leaders were novices who could not keep up with Jacinda Ardern.

“The problem with Muller and Bridges, they were novices!” Matt McCarten says.

McCarten contrasted that with Jacinda Ardern, who has a 20-year political career under her belt.

“She’s a pro. She’s authentic,” he says.

“That’s what the Nats have always underestimated about her.”

Judith Collins at her inaugural press conference as party leader - Photo / File

At her inaugural press conference as leader of the opposition, Judith Collins spoke of her respect for the prime minister: "I think too that Jacinda Ardern is not someone we should ever underestimate. Her own party did so for many years. She is an adversary I would respect."

McCarten also warned that the long-time adversary of Winston Peters, Gerry Brownlee, should not be underestimated either.

“He’s a fixer,” McCarten says.

The former Alliance strategist asserted that Judith Collins would not play nice. He believes her strategy will be to contrast the prime minister's famous 'nice' factor.