Judith Collins and Andrew Falloon.

Politics podcast: Judith Collins and the hot air Falloon

Toby Manhire, Annabelle Lee-Mather and Ben Thomas on the Andrew Falloon scandal and its implications for a beleaguered National Party, a big weekend for Winston Peters and NZ First, and the chorus calling to charge arriving New Zealanders for their hotel isolation. 

Less than two months out from the election, the National Party remains bedevilled by controversy. Just a few days after she became leader, Judith Collins has successfully demanded the resignation of Andrew Falloon, dismissing one of the claims around the circumstances under which unsolicited pornographic images were sent by the first-term MP to more than one young woman as “clearly a lie”.

The latest saga came to light wrapped up in declarations around the role of mental health. Are these messages reasonable or reprehensible? Did Collins handle the scandal appropriately? Where does it leave the National Party?

Annabelle, Ben and Toby take on these questions, as well as the state of Winston Peters and New Zealand First. With the party languishing well below the 5% threshold in polls, does the weekend’s conference and big leader speech suggest there is a way back to parliament for Team Winston?

Plus: both the National Party and the government now look set upon introducing charges of around $3,000 for returning New Zealanders, to contribute to the costs of their mandatory hotel isolation. A fair demand to pay a share in the broad effort of the team of five million, or a breach of the basic right of citizens to come home, born of plain meanness?

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