So it has come to this. The self styled crusher of boy racer’s cars, the politician who joked about rape in prison, the Minister who smashed up the Family Court and trampled over David Bain’s rights of Natural Justice is having a bit of time out. She will be available to answer questions in the house today and tomorrow but will then take time off until Budget day.
It is not clear if she was ordered to or volunteered to take the time off. Clearly on the weekend she was out of control. The senior levels of the Labour Party in their wildest dreams could not have thought of a more effective way to turn the media totally against National. Millions of dollars of Crosby Textor advice has been wiped out by Collins’ attack on Katie Bradford.
Martyn Bradbury thinks that the attack was Machiavellian rather than misguided and it may be that the attack was prompted by thoughts of what would be popular to her right wing base in the National Party. But if this was the thinking it made as much sense as the thought that to save the village you had to destroy the village.
Collins’ future as a Cabinet Minister must be bleak. Serious questions are being asked about if she has misled Parliament. Her claims that her dinner with Oravida directors and an unnamed Chinese Public Servant who worked in border control was a private one where business was not discussed seems less and less likely with every new disclosure. And her description of how she dropped in for a cup of tea at Oravida’s headquarters appears to be more and more fanciful given the official steps taken to make sure the visit was a success.
On top of this are this morning’s revelations that Oravida received a quarantine clearance certificate weeks after the infamous private dinner and shortly before the further donation to the National Party by Oravida of $30,000 was made.
Collins’ days as a minister should be numbered. If they are not then she will become an albatross around the party’s neck at election time. The delightful irony is that if Key does move against her there will be a backlash from the Collins faction in National’s caucus and if he does not the attacks will continue.
The big question National strategists must be asking is what damage this is causing to Brand Key. His image has also been used in Oravida advertising and there was that game of golf with Oravida Director Stone Shi where the fee went to the charity known as the National Party so he has obviously been heavily involved in the fundraising. It makes you wonder if Key did know all the details about Collins’ trip beforehand and said that he was relaxed about it. Whatever his view National is looking more and more like a trade office for Chinese business interests.
This afternoon should be interesting. Tune in to Parliament at 2 pm to watch.