Judith Collins says she will not go ahead with tax cuts and may review iwis' role in planning decisions if she is made Prime Minister.
Her policy agenda would also include major reforms of health and safety laws and the Resource Management Act (RMA).
Collins is standing for Prime Minister John Key's job alongside Finance Minister Bill English and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman. She is the outsider in the contest, and has not yet received any public declarations of support from MPs.
The Corrections and Police Minister is known for her hardline stance on law and order, which has led to tougher bail laws, harsher sentencing for some offences, and the crushing of boy racers' cars.
She supports the Government's position of not reviewing the age of eligibility for pensions. For people who worked in manual labour "65 was a long time to wait", she said.
But her stance on other issues, including tax cuts, means she cannot be easily categorised as right-wing. She is socially liberal and is the only one of the three candidates who voted to legalise same-sex marriage.
In an interview with the Herald today, she said tax cuts were not a priority for her. No constituent she had spoken to was asking for tax relief - which has been proposed by Key, possibly in the form of a "family package".
"What they're saying to me is, and certainly my area in the South Auckland ... is we need infrastructure," Collins said.
"Most people don't work in the Beehive. They don't live in luxury homes. Most people actually get by, and they don't want to spend an hour and a half or two hours getting to work."
Another of Collins' key priorities would be reform of the RMA. Under the current system, too much was being spent on consents rather than construction, she said.
"What it shouldn't be about is trying to stop anybody developing anything unless you get paid off."
Under RMA reforms before Parliament, councils will have to consult with iwi at the beginning of the consent process as part of a provision called "iwi participation agreements". Collins did not go as far as saying she would scrap the provisions, but said they were "highly debatable".
"I think iwi have a right, as does anyone else, but I think this country needs to think very carefully about the economic results of being able to say that one particular group can stop anything."
Her stance on iwi consultation would seriously strain the relationship between the National Party and the Maori Party. It is a key point of difference with Bill English, who has takes a more conciliatory role on Maori issues and works closely with the Maori Party.
Collins' other priority would be health and safety reforms, which she took "extremely seriously". She was concerned the current regime was "enforced to such a degree that people can't actually go about their businesses".
"So we've got situations at the moment where government departments are being sued by Worksafe and they are being sued for ... human errors and various other things."
The health and safety and RMA issues were ones which National risked losing touch with its base over, Collins said. John Key had been a "fine leader", she said, but as he resigned the party needed to make sure it continued to "bring people with us" and "not go too far in any direction" on issues such as iwi consultation or health and safety.