Winston Peters says Judith Collins' leadership implosion shows the ousted National Party leader displayed appalling judgment.
Peters told The Country on Newstalk ZB it was too soon to assess new National supremo Chris Luxon's performance as Opposition leader.
But Peters was not shy about sharing his views on Collins, who was dumped as leader last week before Luxon was anointed yesterday.
Collins dredged up a years-old complaint about a lewd remark as a pretext for her stripping her rival Simon Bridges of his portfolios.
"Well, to have done what she did on the pretext of information that was five years old, and nothing of the character she said, was actually an astonishing case of bad judgment," Peters said.
It was suggested to Peters that Collins may have known she was losing support in caucus, so contrived the controversy to at least ensure Bridges would not succeed her as leader.
"Well, if that's your view of progress and victory, it's a rather perverse view," the former Deputy Prime Minister told The Country.
Collins led her party to a disastrous 2020 general election result, in which National lost 23 seats.
Peters said under Collins, National never showed a chance of achieving anything close to its more successful previous election outcomes.
"In every sense of the prescription she wrote herself, she failed."
Peters said anybody wondering if Bridges would one day make a good Finance Minister should ask: "What's his personal business experience? Has he ever worked for himself?"
Bridges was a Crown prosecutor before entering politics.
"He's like you, he's a lawyer," radio host Jamie Mackay said.
"Yeah but I ran my own business, both then and now. I had a highly successful law practice.. .which I owned. He' s never been there."
Peters is currently listed as director of one entity, Oriwa Enterprises Limited, described on the Companies Office website as a "business consultant service".
He said he hoped Todd Muller, who Collins ousted as leader in 2020, would have a bigger role in the new National line-up.
Peters said Muller had a very good business record.