"We should get in behind Bill as the leader" - Judith Collins

By Heta Gardiner

Minister of Corrections and Police Judith Collins has pulled out of National's leadership race and will instead be backing Bill English. English now has the numbers to become Prime Minister. 

In Parliament today, Collins announced, "I will be withdrawing my candidacy as leader. It is clear to me that 50% of the caucus supports Bill English as the leader and therefore as far as I'm concerned he has won." 

The party rules stipulate that all National politicians get one vote each to select a new leader. If a candidate gets over 50% support they'll succeed the leadership.

National has 59 members in parliament. Thirty of the fifty-nine, which is more than fifty percent, have publically stated that they will vote for Bill English.

Judith Collins and Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman both haven't received a single public endorsement. 

"With 50% of the support from caucus, I would like to say to my supporters that we should get in behind Bill as the leader," Collins said. 

However, Jonathan Coleman is staying optimistic. 

"Look I haven't seen the numbers, I haven't heard from Bill. I know there is a lot of outside speculation and look let's just see what happens."

The Māori Party has openly supported Bill English as Prime Minister. They also took a shot at Judith Collins following the announcement of her proposed policies this week which included reconsidering iwi rights in the RMA (Resource Management Act).

Fox says, "She is talking about reconsidering those rights. I think she is just thinking selfishly."

It looks as though the leader has been decided. So the focus is now on who will be his deputy.