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Polity: Even more new, damning evidence on Collins.

Written By: - Date published: 6:52 pm, May 5th, 2014 - 69 comments
Categories: accountability, corruption, Judith Collins, Politics - Tags:

polity_square_for_lynnLooks like an interesting week of drawn out misery for someone. Rob Salmond at Polity again.

I do not want to talk about Judith Collins’ “private” dinner. There are plenty of people making astute points about her impropriety there already. Instead, I want to draw attention to another damning part of last week’s Friday afternoon OIA-dump.

It shows that Judith Collins’ visit to Oravida was an official, Ministerial visit specifically designed by the New Zealand government to improve Oravida’s, and only Oravida’s, business opportunities in China.That is something Judith Collins is strictly forbidden from doing in her Ministerial capacity, because her husband is a director of the company.

This is further evidence that Collins has used taxpayer funds to help her husband’s business, and that she has spent the last two months lying about that fact to her boss, the Parliament, and the people of New Zealand. She must resign.

Here is the relevant part of the OIA-dump (pdf as well – see pp 30-31):

Meeting Brief: Oravida

Date and Time
23 October 1530-1630

Event
Visit and Tour of Oravida Facilities

Purpose / objective
To increase the profile of a successful importer and distributor of New Zealand products into China

Agenda items / event outline
1445 Depart Bureau of Justice for Oravida Offices

1530 Arrive at Office
Met by Oravida Management
Visit and tour of Oravida facilities
Afternoon tea / chance to meet management and employees

1630 Depart for Pudong International Airport

Background of organization / institution
Oravida New Zealand Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oravida Ltd., a diversified company which owns a number of businesses in different sectors. The company is owned by Mr Deyi (Stone ) Shi and has two directors, Julia Xu and David Wong-Tung.

[…]

Attendees

Chinese side to be confirmed

New Zealand
Minister
Ambassador
Consul-General
Malcolm
Macintosh

First, far from being a “pop in” “20-minute stop” for a “cup of tea” or “glass of milk” “on the way to the airport,” as Collins has claimed in Parliament, this was an almost two hour excursion, with four officials in tow, going away from the airport, complete with a full hour-long official Ministerial programme at Oravida. Collins’ statements to Parliament have been simple lies, told to conceal an ugly, corrupt truth.

Second, Collins has also claimed in Parliament:

I was being driven around and I was assured by the ambassador that we could pop into Oravida on the way to the airport, or else I could have gone to the airport and I could have sat in the lounge for an extra long time.

This document shows that was also a lie. The meeting with Oravida was neither informal, spontaneous, nor on the way to the airport. The meeting was planned by officials long in advance, and was ticked off by Collins as part of her Ministerial itinerary before she left New Zealand.

Third, when she ticked off the meeting with Oravida, Collins agreed to head a New Zealand government team whose explicit, agreed purpose was “To increase the profile of [Oravida].”

That is the critical point.

Collins is prohibited from using her Ministerial position to “increase the profile” of firms from which her husband, David Wong-Tung, may derive a benefit. She breached the Cabinet Manual in participating in this visit knowing full well, in advance, its purpose and the conflict it entails. Hell, MFAT even named Collins’ husband as a director right there on the page, in case she needed any reminding!

Here is the relevant section of the Cabinet Manual (section 2.62):

A conflict may arise if people close to a Minister, such as a Minister’s family, whanau, or close associates, might derive, or be perceived as deriving, some personal, financial, or other benefit from a decision or action by the Minister or the government.

So, let’s tick off the elements:

Does David Wong-Tung benefit in any way from the success of Oravida New Zealand Ltd, which he serves as a director?
Yes.

Did Judith Collins take an action that might benefit Oravida, and therefore David Wong-Tung?
Yes. She visited its facility in Shanghai in order to raise its profile.

Was that action taken in her Ministerial capacity?
Yes. Her visit was an official engagement, arranged by MFAT, with on-site support from four diplomatic officials.

Did the Minister know that her action would benefit Oravida, and therefore David Wong-Tung?
Yes. She was informed in advance and in writing that the purpose of the visit was to increase Oravida’s local profile in China.

I anticipate another dreadful, embarrassing performance in Parliament from Collins this week in light of this issue and the others she is facing this week. And I expect her resignation will be announced early next week so it can be immediately drowned out by the Budget.

69 comments on “Polity: Even more new, damning evidence on Collins.”

  1. Zorr 1

    Shame she couldn’t have taken the time off before Question Time tomorrow…

    I guess there are going to be a lot of supplemental questions

    evil grin

    • karol 1.1

      She’s taking time off after Question Time Wednesday – Tuesday and Wednesdays are the days Key is there. If Collins is absent, the heat would be put on Key re Oravida.

      • Zorr 1.1.1

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10010739/Judith-Collins-to-take-a-few-days-off

        “Key said Collins would front questions about Oravida in Parliament this week and it was important she did so because neither she or the Government had anything to hide over the affair.”

        Wouldn’t be the first time Key has lied tho…

        • karol 1.1.1.1

          The One News report was interesting. They poiinted put that Key’s entourage and Collins arrived on the same plane to Wellington. But Key’s lot weren’t walkign with Collins, and left her to answer media questions on her own.

          Also, the clip from Key’s press stand up, had Key saying about taking time off:

          She, actually, was keen to do that, and I certainly agree with her.

          it’s kind of like saying to Collins, “It’s your mess, you deal with it.”

          • felix 1.1.1.1.1

            Note his phrasing attempts to give the impression that the time off was Collins’ idea, but he doesn’t actually say that at all.

            • karol 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes. The “actually” is a bit of a give away – no actually at all, but a bit of dissembling.

              • felix

                And this: “I certainly agree with her”.

                What’s he agreeing with?

                1) He instructs her to take time off.
                2) She agrees to do so.
                3) Then he agrees with that.

                He skips (1) when he tells the story, and adds himself back in at (3) as if he’s responding to her idea.

                • karol

                  It’s hard to know. As told by NZ Herald, it reads like Key suggested she take a break – but then again, he might not have. Who suggested what?

                  Prime Minister John Key has told his embattled Justice Minister Judith Collins to take a few days off from Parliament once she has answered Opposition questions over the Oravida affair over the next two days.
                  […]
                  “What I’ve suggested and I think makes sense is that she’s going to be in Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday this week… but I actually think she should have a few days off and we’ll be encouraging her late this week and early next week just to take a few days off.”

                  But what he does claim to have said is that Colins should be in the House on Tuesday and Wednesday, and back in the House by mid next week. he seems to want her to be fronting up to Question Time.

                  • felix

                    Can’t be good for her. It’s like he’s giving her the last bit of rope she needs.

                    A few people have suggested that he can’t afford to be seen to fire her, for fear of upsetting her right-wing support base. Does he think if he lets her stay long enough to make a total hash of it, she’ll have to go anyway and it won’t look like he’s fired her?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Don’t suppose there are any memos describing Key’s modelling dates for Oravida. “This will add considerable scampi time to the Prime Minister’s menu” – that sort of thing?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Minion: “Collins’ residence.”

                    Key: “This is John Key, I’d like to speak to Judith.”

                    Minion: “You wait.”

                    elevator music, six minutes and twenty seconds elapse

                    Minion: “Mistress will speak to you now.”

                    JC: “Mr. Key, we were just talking about you, ha ha. Do you want to know something about the press gallery?”

                    JK: “Er, Judith…”

                    JC: “Don’t interrupt, remember what we talked about… Now, I told you to do something about those wretched reporters and those horrible Labour people, and I have to say I’m very disappointed in your performance.”

                    JK: “It won’t happen again.”

                    JC: “And that’s what you tell the media when they ask you. Now, we’re off for a week or two from Thursday next so you’d better have this all cleared up by the time we get back. Understood?”

                    click

                  • Tracey

                    will she be providing a medical certificate after two days? what are her leave entitlements as a mp?

      • phillip ure 1.1.2

        i am sooo looking forward to doing the usual commentary on q-time 2morrow..

        ..i have already sharpened the quills..

      • Kat 1.1.3

        What a nice guy Key is eh!? That song “who do you think you are kidding Mr…….” keeps ringing in many peoples ears.

      • miravox 1.1.4

        I hope there is a good support system in place for her. The clip from yesterday shows she is not in a good frame of mind. Key is putting her through this to save himself.

        She’s either unwell now, and needs time off and someone else to take on her duties, or Key is anticipating she will be unwell after Wednesday. Much as I’m looking forward to her resignation and seeing the duplicity and corrupt behaviours being outed, I really don’t wish for anyone in such a demonstrably bad emotional state to be thrown to the wolves for political expediency. Callous.

        • karol 1.1.4.1

          Well, I don’t expect much to come of Question Time this week. The media et al are building it up to be like show-down at the OK. In fact, the pressure from the opposition has been a long slow turning of the screws.

          There will be more of the same pressure this week from the opposition. Collins will stand firm…. denial, denail, denial… and be relieved when Wednesday Qu Time is over.

          Key will be relieved he has a break for a few days and will try to present something he sees as positive Nat action…. and on it goes.

          • miravox 1.1.4.1.1

            Yep, I agree – the opposition have not gone for drama on this, and I expect they’ll stick to the facts this week. My concern is more the actual stress of having to front up and I wonder if the press have learned anything about chasing people through corridors and the like. Much as she deserves it, I hope they’ve moved beyond that.

            • AB 1.1.4.1.1.1

              Any sympathy/concern you may feel is almost entirely misplaced.
              This is the woman who in Parliament and on no evidence smirkingly called David Benson-Pope a ‘pervert’.
              This is the woman who said she hope that looters in Christchurch go to jail for along time “with a cellmate”, i.e. a police minister tacitly endorsing prison rape as an additional extra-judicial punishment.
              And when one of these ‘looters’ (Ari Smith) turned out to be a harmless young man with Asperger’s who had taken 2 light bulbs from an abandoned building because he had something of an obsession with light bulbs, and was clearly beaten up by the police while in their custody (yes, an extra-judicial punishment) there was no apology from police minister Collins.
              This sort of bullying psychopathy makes her singularly unsuitable for any ministerial role – but Police and Justice especially. This should have been plain to everyone years ago. I have no sympathy whatsoever.

              • McFlock

                pertinent reminder of her nature.

              • Bearded Git

                Quite right AB, and her behaviour on the David Bain report made her unfit for office, let alone Justice Minister

              • miravox

                “Any sympathy/concern you may feel is almost entirely misplaced.”

                I’ve not got of scrap of sympathy for her. I am concerned to see anyone have their mental health endangered – even after having so horribly endangered others. I completely agree that she is totally unsuited for a ministerial role – actually any level of public office.

              • Tracey

                some call it karma.

                like many bullies she can dish it out but struggles to take it. she is now isolated from her pack which breaks a bullys resolve very quickly.

                sometimes people have to collapse entirely to make any lasting change.

                the thing is, like williamson, she has had no thought for any victims, just herself.

                she is lucky to have a boss who will give her time off without pressure for medical certificates or unpaid leave, a decent superannuation scheme and substantial assets… cf to victims of acc tactics and privacy breaches.

          • Scott 1.1.4.1.2

            I’m probably a bit naive compared to you guys but won’t Crosby Textor be managing everything Key says right now?

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.4.1.2.1

              Yep. But no matter how much you butter this bread, it is still a shit sandwich.

              • Scott

                Ok, so who has to eat it. Collins I guess?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Judith doesn’t eat shit, on sandwiches or otherwise. Judith is strong: we’ll see who comes to her table.

  2. Will@Welly 2

    I wonder which member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery Judith Collins will try to malign in the next day or two?

    • lprent 2.1

      Think distraction. Next are the bloggers or her staff of minions. Lets hope she asks Cameron to fall…

      • Disraeli Gladstone 2.1.1

        I liked Giovanni Tiso’s tweet that we’ll soon be entering the situation where Slater will be distancing himself from Collins, rather than the other way around.

        • NickS 2.1.1.1

          Slater? Do the smart thing? Lawl, I except the stupid one to do at least one really, utterly dumb thing over this and make things worse with (un)friendly fire on the National government.

          Though given his reliance on leaks from the National to stay in the spotlight, the idiot may yet surprise us and leave Collins to her justly deserved fate of political oblivion.

      • Not a PS Staffer 2.1.2

        They might find conduits to release video to embarrass Labour.

        They have a catalogue prepared for use in the election. Some include asshole statements made by Shane Jones. Though Joyce and McCully may use their influence to block the early deployment of theses “assets” as they have no interest in saving Judith’s neck.

        • Tracey 2.1.2.1

          is crosby using his fist to make that sandwich?agree. keys top drawer was always going to be emptied, but the schedule has come forward.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2.1.1

            More like the schedule has been completely disrupted. National need a media window to drop their drawers. Worse, if they choose the wrong moment they risk the story being framed as “Nasty National Lashes Out” :lol:

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2.2

          I want to see the video! It’s sure to be good for a few laughs.

          Release the video! Come on National, don’t be coy.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.3

        Reported on Stuff this morning: “Staff grilled, Collins takes time off”.

        Lprent adds “Seer” to his cv.

        • Tracey 2.1.3.1

          yp, by john keys henchman. interesting they are being grilled about who requested a meeting.

          is this henchman speak for

          ” who created the fucking paper trail?”

    • I would guess she’d stay away from the press gallery since her last attempt to target one of their brethren totally backfired. In line with lprent’s thinking I’d go for a sudden resignation from her office.

  3. ScottGN 3

    I reckon one of the most interesting details to emerge today was that it turns out our Ambassador declined to attend this dinner not because he couldn’t be bothered or because he thought it was a private affair between old chums but because his office could smell the stink of a conflict of interest from a mile away.

    • Skinny 3.1

      My sentiments exactly, diplomats are aloof to any dirty dealings and will choose to err on the side of caution for their own self preservation. This revelation on TV3 News tonight gave the impression that the Ambassador flatly refused to attend. Usually very well connected & informed as to the lay of the land locally, this guy wouldn’t have wanted a bar of any dodgy goings on. It will be interesting to know how diplomatic he will be once attention turns to questions and answers. If his response is luke warm this will add to further suspicions of a New Zealand Government involved, not only in cronie capitalism, but also by financial association (Collins Family) and party donations which to the lay person appears corrupt.

      ‘Hone in on the Ambassador.’

      • ScottGN 3.1.1

        I doubt any questions will be directed to the Embassy staff in Beijing – that wouldn’t be appropriate. It’s clear though that Collins and/or her office thought she might be able to rope the Ambassador (and his wife) in to the dinner to add further lustre to the plan to sweet talk the border official.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    The Oravida corruption scandal has dragged out for so long, if Collins had just fessed up and resigned at the start she’d be about ready to return to cabinet by now.

    It’s always the cover-up that gets them.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      PS: This … will add considerable drive-time to the Minister’s programme.”

      Considerable :lol:

    • Anne 4.2

      The point is: cover-ups are sometimes successful. And years later when they might be revealed, nobody cares any more. So, its nearly always worth the risk.

      • RedLogix 4.2.1

        I’m thinking that this govt has gotten away with a long string of cover-ups .. mainly because they could count on a pretty compliant and lazy media not digging too hard. Collins just got careless.

        Breathtakingly so when you think about it. Turns out there was even an official paper-trail. Key must be furious at such incompetence.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.1

          They drank the kool-aid. People embue reporters with all sorts of abilities they don’t in fact possess. I think they’re as gullible as the next person.

          • Tracey 4.2.1.1.1

            gullible, self interested, lacking personal courage of convictions. sadly not great attributes for a journalist.

        • Tracey 4.2.1.2

          thats my feeling too redlogix. for some reason this one got away from them. this is why it feels so much like an inside job on collins. the media werent too interested until a few months later.

          first vance and then bradford…

          not that it seems to have opened vances eyes too much

      • Tracey 4.2.2

        and is often the default position.

  5. NickS 5

    Muwahahahahahaha…

    If I wasn’t working tomorrow I’d be watching question time just to see Collins try and avoid the only way out left to her, falling on her sword and resigning. And Peters’ is going to have soo much $FUN with this

  6. Molly 6

    Marilynn McLachlan produces a very weird puff article for Judith Collins in the Herald – Seven things you might not know about Judith Collins.

    McLachlan’s LinkedIn profile has her listed as “Online Editor at The New Zealand Woman’s Weekly “

  7. hoom 7

    Frankly I’m hoping for rather more than a couple of days off.
    A permanent vacation from Parliament would be more suitable.

    In the form of a complete resignation/retirement.

  8. Will@Welly 8

    I’m not a fan of Paul Henry, but anything ‘newsworthy’ is preferable to that ‘suck-it-up-at-all-costs-TVNZ’, so I watched Paul Henry, and he and his two fellow commentators, after thinking that maybe Judith Collins could have redeemed herself (LOL), now agree that she has to go. Finito!!
    Time to walk the plank – Judith. The attack on Katie Bradford was uncalled for, but the fact that she didn’t recognise the reporter interviewing her was Brook Sabin, the son of a fellow National Party M.P. really means she is not fit to govern. TV3 can’t believe their luck.
    Maurice Williamson was the appetiser, Judith is the main course. The gift that keeps on giving, and giving. Even the Nats say she has to go !! John has dug himself a dirty big hole.
    Might be time to start polishing the Treasury benches – but please, no cock-ups.

    • felix 8.1

      What makes you think she didn’t recognise him? She called him by name several times.

      • Tracey 8.1.1

        i was wondering about that too. i also didnt see that clip as evidence of wide eyed rantings of an unstable person. odd behaviour for sure but i think some here have seen what they want to see.

        • ScottGN 8.1.1.1

          I didn’t think it was an unstable rant either. The whole interview was a deliberate attempt to push back at the media. Why exactly she thought that might help her cause I can’t fathom but I tell you what, that thin, fixed, pink lipsticked smile really creeped me out.

          • Tracey 8.1.1.1.1

            the thing about some lawyers, and i count many litigators and tax lawyers in this, is they are driven by ego and a win at all costs mentality. thats what i saw in that interview. she was so certain she was smarter than sabin that she could tie him up in knots and make him look stupid. so she kept going… and had to have the last word.

            tax lawyers live in a world dominated by rationalisation of their and their clients behaviour and motivations. finding ways around things they know are morally wrong, not intended by legislature for largely already wealthy clients is how they make their $450 an hour.

            thats the mindset i believe we have been witnessing.

      • Sanctuary 8.1.2

        I would say that in the world of entitled nepotism and cronyism that Collin’s inhabits the son of one of her fellow gilded ones questioning her would have moved her to even greater rage at his impertinent disloyalty.

  9. Plan B 9

    Has Judith’s husbands role been questioned? Is he merely being used as a means for Judith to be paid?
    Is he experienced in areas that could be seen to be relevant to the Orivada comapny
    eg accounting, finance, marketing, milk production, logistics etc

  10. Blue 10

    What I do not understand at all about this, and would really appreciate an explanation from someone, is this: If at the end of all of this Collins does resign what do the people making the fuss expect to gain. Do they think we will suddenly be more inclined to vote differently. Is this the reward that is being sought. I just don’t get it .. what is the point. In my group of friends we have staunch lefties, staunch righties and many in the middle and it would be fair to say that no one gives a rats about Judith Collins. This seems to be a huge fuss created by politicians and the entertainment industry (some members of which seem to think they are journalists while presiding over their ratings driven radio and tv shows). So the opposition claims a government scalp ….. so what ….. what is the point.

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