Judith Collins seems to be ever on the rebound. Her leadership, rather like David Cunliffe five years ago, has become inevitable. In fact, there is no other credible reason for her to still be in Parliament. She was a senior minister in the last government, at various times holding the Justice, Police, Corrections, Ethnic Affairs and Revenue portfolios. Where else is there for her to go other than the top? Or, if that is out of the question, she has plenty of opportunities in the private sector. Law firms would love to have her as a senior partner, and she has numerous business interests to capitalize on.
How long will she wait? Well, since Simon Bridges has half a dozen nails in his coffin already, the political calculus is on her side. So what does that mean for the public?
Crime. Crusher Collins has a reputation for being demonic on empowering the police and shelving human rights. I would expect that she would build more prisons, lengthen sentences, streamline the courts, and make punishments for youth offenders more severe. She has a special interest in improving the family court, and presumably would do more there. Police may well be allowed to carry firearms and the resulting spike in gun violence would give her an excuse to get ever more draconian.
Economics. She follows National Party orthodoxy so we could expect more of the Key/English policies with larger tax cuts. So a tad more corruption.
On Health and Social Policy one can reasonably presume that the liberalization of trans healthcare in terms of access to affirmation surgery would be reversed. The usual National practice of putting an emphasis on elective surgery and under-funding of DHBs would figure too.
Not a happy picture, unless you are old, white, rich, cisgender, and straight. Judith Collins is all those things, and that her leadership would be self-serving that it seems too obvious to have to say. But the extent of media scrutiny on Collins is to describe her as polarizing. That doesn’t tell you very much. She may be a more effective version of Don Brash, but then again that is small comfort. He got very close to victory in 2005, only the Helen Clark effect held him off. Would the Jacinda effect be enough to beat Collins. The thought needs careful pondering.