National Party MP and former government minister Judith "Crusher" Collins may have been the enemy of boy racers up and down the country, but she does have her own interesting tale of childhood automotive hijinks.

"I learnt to drive a tractor when I was about 9 - way before health and safety came in," she told Jamie Mackay on The Country.

The youngest of five children, Collins was brought up on a Waikato dairy farm and fondly remembers such traditions as calf club days, along with a special group of chums she used to get about with.

"My best friends were my cats and the farm dog and my calf of that year."


Collins says the farm was isolated but it didn't bother her.

"I loved going to school ... and I loved being out on the farm with dad and mum."

Listen below:

Mackay was interested in another revelation, that Collins was a Labour Party supporter until the age of 26, when she owned her first business.

Collins admits that her early support for Labour came from her contrary nature.

"I've always had that slightly contrarian side to me, and guess growing up in a big National area it was quite fun to be a little bit different."

"Sometimes if a whole room is saying 'this is the right way to go,' I'm the person who says, 'Oh - are you sure about that? Let's try this other way.' "

Also in today's interview: Collins recollects some famous rugby school mates who attended Matamata College with her.