Written By: - Date published: 10:06 am, April 16th, 2014 - 115 comments
Categories: john key, Judith Collins, national, same old national, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ACC, bronwyn pullar, Oravida
Judith Collins has gone from being one of National’s most assured performers and a likely future National Party leader to someone who is under increasing pressure and who must be one further disclosure away from being fired.
As Minister for ACC she has to take responsibility for policy which dictated that claimants who did not sign a form known as form 167 had their payments stopped. The form is to authorise the release of information belonging to claimants to ACC. The form is extraordinarily wide and some claimants have taken exception to it. But even attempts to negotiate the terms of the authority has resulted in claimants’ entitlements being cancelled.
Judith Collins claims that she has only known about the problem for the past five days. This seems unusual as Bronwyn Pullar amongst others raised this as an issue some time ago. And Denise Powell, the woman whose appeal led to the ruling, has stated that the matter has been a live issue since at least 2009.
Collins’ ACC problems are dwarfed by the ongoing difficulties with Oravida. Yesterday TV3 released details of a letter it had obtained under the Official Information Act in which Oravida director Julia Xu sought government help after Fonterra’s whey contamination scandal broke in July last year. The letter to Tim Groser and Nathan Guy said that Oravida was facing “a marketing disaster. On behalf of Oravida NZ Ltd I would urge the ministers and the NZ government to help us navigate through this difficult time.”
Which makes you wonder who the mysterious Chinese Government Official was who had dinner with Collins and the Oravida directors at the so called “private dinner” and was he there to help Oravida navigate what was a marketing disaster.
Winston Peters said yesterday that the dinner with the Chinese official was a result of the letter, and he claims he has official documents showing two cabinet ministers “rushed to do exactly as Oravida asked, including obtaining taxpayer funds to get special help for Ms Collins’ husband’s company”.
He suggested that Oravida received sterling support from the Government which the other milk companies did not.
He has promised further revelations today, presumably in Parliament. It could be an interesting day.
John Key must be privately despairing. He has refused to disclose who the Chinese Official is. It should only be a matter of time before their identity is disclosed and then Key himself will face further questions.
And meanwhile Collins’ greatest cheerleader Cameron Slater is busily trashing Simon Bridges’ reputation (warning Whaleoil link). I wonder if the intent is to damage the competition to Collins’ National Party leadership aspirations? John Key and National must be becoming increasingly afraid what further reputational damage he will cause.
Update: And it is going to be a busy time for Collins during Question Time this afternoon. Questions include:
1. Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in the Hon Judith Collins and her handling of her relationship with Oravida Ltd?
3. GRANT ROBERTSON to the Minister of Justice: Was the employer of the senior Chinese border control official, who she had dinner with in Beijing in October 2013 on her Ministerial visit to China, from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine also known as the AQSIQ?
6. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Minister of Justice: Why will she not identify the senior Chinese border official with whom she met on 20 October 2013, and disclose the business that was discussed at the dinner with him that evening?
7. IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY to the Minister for ACC: Does she stand by her answers to Oral Question No. 10 yesterday?
9. KEVIN HAGUE to the Minister for ACC: Have all of the recommendations of the 2012 Independent Review of ACC’s Privacy and Security of Information been implemented; if not, why not?