Collins’ dilemma & lameduck Key

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, March 30th, 2012 - 36 comments
Categories: john key, Judith Collins, national - Tags:

Judith Collins’ behaviour might strike some as strangely aggressive. Some might even suppose she wouldn’t behave like this unless she was in the right. But let’s put ourselves in her shoes. She wants to be leader. She is now embroiled in a scandal that could end her career. If she could put an end to it without resigning, she would nip it in the bud. Clearly, she can’t – which just goes to confirm what everyone already supposes and what our inside sources confirm: Collins is behind the leaking of the Boag email.

So, what to

Option 1) resign. This would be a total defeat, ending her chances of being leader and the power she has now.

Option 2) fight with everything including the kitchen sink. Here there is at least a sliver of a chance of survival. It will damage the party more if she goes down or not than a clean resignation but her career is going to come first. Considering option 1, this is the optimal strategy.

Nick Smith faced these two options just a week ago but he wasn’t planning on making a run for leader in the next 3 years and his loyalty to the National Party overrode his interest in keeping his power.

On top of the strategy, Collins’ personality is always going to compel her to lash out.

So, this is why we see Collins’ invoking the ‘not in the public interest’ line when questioned in the House and getting the taxpayer to pick up her tab for ludicrous defamation suits on Trevor Mallard, Andrew Little, and Radio New Zealand. These actions will expose her and her party to more derision, contempt, and anger but, but, they have a tiny chance of scaring off her opponents and saving her career. The media has been slightly chilled by the defamation suits. In Collins’ calculus, it’s better to (probably) go down kicking and screaming and hurt whomever doesn’t get out of the way on her way down than to quietly fold and protect her party.

Which brings us back to the person responsible for ensuring that the actions of ministers don’t work against the interests of the government and the National Party (and, oh yeah, the public they’re meant to be serving). John Key at the moment is giving Collins’ enough rope to hang herself. That’s been his strategy in other ministerial scandals too. But this is a new challenge to which his corporatist style of leadership is unsuited.

At its root, this is a fight for the succession to leadership post-Key that has spilled into the public arena – Collins’ actions have shifted the Boag and brat pack factions against her, giving the Joyce faction the opportunity to strike and attempt to knock her out of contention. If it was just one minister who had stuffed up, letting them play it out for themselves before stepping in to give them the chop if need be would work – as it did with Worth, Wong, Heatley, and Smith. But Key’s got a civil war on his hands that is over what happens once he is no longer leader. His failure to quash this just confirms that he is now a lame-duck.

36 comments on “Collins’ dilemma & lameduck Key”

  1. Kotahi Tane Huna 1

    Isn’t there another possibility? That Key or his staff leaked the email, and Collins is simply trying to shut down debate.

    • ianmac 1.1

      Hence Judith Collins being so certain that it was not she or her office which had leaked. And if so Mr Key would be rather beholden to Judith Collins.Yes?

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.1.1

        Yes, but if the damage goes upstairs will Key have anything worth having, or hang around long enough to see it distributed according to plan?

        The whole sleazy mess just looks completely FUBAR.

  2. Jim Nald 2

    “His failure to quash this just confirms that he is now a lame-duck.”

    It has been increasingly evident to most that he is a quaa aa c`-_

    …. sorry, try that again, …. quack.

    • infused 2.1

      Key is not stupid. He’s probably letting this play out for a reason.

      • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1

        Yep. He doesn’t want any of his own finger prints on it. If Collins goes down over this, he wants to be the one that sacks her for lying to him.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 2.1.2

        Whoever leaked a private email in the middle of a privacy scandal did a stupid thing. If that person is John Key he’s letting it play out because he’s broken the law and he hasn’t got anywhere to go.

  3. Blue 3

    I have no idea why Judith Collins thinks she could be in contention for the National Party leadership. Being a ruthless, stone cold bitch is not what people generally look for in a future Prime Minister. It doesn’t play well either within a party or with the general public.

    How much trouble political parties get themselves into with people who are totally unsuited for leadership but won’t give up their delusional ambitions.

    • outofbed 3.1

      Nats oh please make Judith Leader, pretty please

    • prism 3.2

      I used to think of Jenny whatsername as being pretty stone cold, and Ruth Richardson had half her description in her name. For me the name Ruth will never leave a pleasant association again.

      The hard people, men or women, can take a run at the PM position if they have the looks and manner of a confident leading personality and they look as if they can get the trains running on time, and deal to the current anxiety of the middle and upper class.

      Actually one could say that the NACTS come from a new class the meddle class, as from the moment they get into power they try and undermine with swingeing changes whatever is functioning satisfactorily in society.

      • ianmac 3.2.1

        prism: Actually one could say that the NACTS come from a new class the meddle class…
        Brilliant. Will pinch the expression if you don’t mind. 🙂

  4. outofbed 4

    yeah hard copy went upstairs, and hey presto leaked That is why she A) is insistent on her innocence and B)simultaneously trying to shut down the debate

    • Jim Nald 4.1

      le venomous spider spins and spins and spins
      webs of intrigues, manipulation and deception
      and entangles and traps herself ?

      • ianmac 4.1.1

        More like a ruthless axe-wielding rampager who accidentally slices off her nose to spite her face. OOps!

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 4.2

      Questions to Collins:

      1. How many physical copies were made?
      2. Is there a distribution list?
      3. Can we see it?

      What are the powers of the Privacy Commissioner in terms of say, questioning staff in Collins’ & Key’s offices?

      If Key leaked, Collins has every reason to be absolutely livid. 🙂

      What possibility is there that it was Pullar? Would Collins be threatening to sue? It would make more sense to just sit back and wait for Mallard and Little to look daft.

      • Jackal 4.2.1

        I have absolutely no faith that the Privacy Commissioner will get to the truth of the matter. Marie Shroff has just been ignoring peoples complaints lately without even an acknowledgement.

        All this rubbish about forensic computer investigators and such will amount to the Nats writing a script for the Privacy Commissioner to follow and then they will hope it all goes away.

    • Anne 4.3

      yeah hard copy went upstairs, and hey presto leaked.

      Yes. That’s my contention.

      I mean look… somebody in Judith’s office made a hard copy which was a considerate thing to do. It makes it easy for people to read and can be accessed quickly. As a courtesy, it was given to someone in the PM’s office because they thought John might like to see it. Then, ya know, it got mislaid somewhere – god knows where – and someone else must have found it and showed it to a passing journalist. I mean, these things happen. You can’t blame anyone. Neither Judith nor John actually touched the bit of paper so it’s wrong to accuse them of anything.

  5. Eddie, you’re so subtle I can barely see what you’re trying to do.

    Where’s the leader who’s overshadowed by a real lame duck?

  6. randal 6

    the whole tenor of this debacle does not bode well for new zealand as a whole. (going forward…hahahahahahahahaha)
    if every govt rides an economic cycle and then has to be removed to cure the excesses of polticial promise from the last administration then we are in a whole lot of trouble that we cant even begin to imagine.
    After 2,000 the right got the permanent campaign off the ground and now the cat is out of the bag then its simply a matter of who has got the tiger by the tail and any pretensions of left and right are gone forever while the 24/7 media and the bribees decide who gets the next go.

  7. Even if collins handed the ‘printed out’ copy to a staffer,she still is indirectly responsible
    for the leak.
    If so then the staffer or staffers need to be questioned by the inquiry.
    Her smug smile yesterday when questioned by the media show that she knows
    alright and that is why she is pushing that she had nothing to do with the release.
    Perhaps she could still see her deck of cards come crashing down as long as the
    staffer is honest and recognises by not devulging the truth then if found out they
    lied,their job would also be on the line.

    • ianmac 7.1

      “Her smug smile yesterday when questioned….”
      Is it my imagination or are camera shots lingering on Judith Collins as she walks away?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.2

      These sort of enquirys about deliberate leaks all ways go nowhere. Thats why they have them.

      You HAVE TO look at people phone records before and after . Example The person who collected the printed copy in Collins office spoke immediately to ‘Gretel’ in OPM ( Office of the PM).
      This is the sort of trial you need for a police type investigation. But it wont be like that. Those involved will just be asked, and not under oath. And they will lie.

  8. Lanthanide 8

    Maybe this is why Simon Power retreated to Australia?

    • tracey 8.1

      I reckon you are right. Power was a good sort amongst a bunch of self serving powerseekers. He was, oddly enough for a politician, interested in advancing/implementing policies (whether I agree with them or not is irrelevant). I just cant see how a cabinet table with Joyce, McCully, Key and Collins could possibly ever be about the good of the people, do you?

      Say what you will about Hollowmen but general people don’t change their inclination so quickly. Joyce, Key and McCully lay at the centre of the brethren debacle. They were prepared to lie and break rules to get power then…. why would that have changed?

      using lawsuits to muzzle the press and clamp down on scandals might seem logically like a Collins gig but I still suspect it has Joyce’s fingerprints all over it.

    • tc 8.2

      that’s likely lanth, it was rumoured he didn’t have the stomach or backing to go up against or be part of either a Joyce or Collins led Shonkey replacement hollowmen front office.

  9. tracey 9

    So perhaps the next question for Collins in the house MUST be and should have been

    Does the Minister know who leaked the email and/or from which office the leak came?

    At present Bryce Edwards seems to be on the money when he says she can be SO certain it didn’t come from HER office because she knows from which office it DID come.

  10. First Smith. Now Collins in trouble. Does anyone get the impression that this is like a severe thunderstorm developing for the National Party, and potentially just as spectacular?

    • Jackal 10.1

      I think it’s more like they’ve ignored due process and a few have been caught fracking things up for their own benefit. Now that the ground is shaking with one of them falling through a large credibility gap they’re panicking!

      Key is hiding under a rock somewhere while Collins screams “defamation” whenever the opposition mentions the cracks in their stories re the ACC debacle. Brownlee mutters something about it being the Finn’s fault as the ground under the Nats feet is giving way through the sheer weight of their indiscretions. Duck and cover is the new National party motto.

  11. captain hook 11

    you’re right jackal.
    due process is a foreign concept to these vultures.

  12. Kevin 12

    So it is a leadership fight that has spilled over into the public arena, a post Key jostle with Nic Smith being the first casualty, and no doubt more to come.
    Is this the first shots being fired in the Collins camp directed towards the Joyce camp?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Household Living Costs hit poorer Kiwis hardest
    Standards of living for the poorest and most vulnerable New Zealanders are being eroded by rising prices for basic living costs, while National has stood idly by, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Statistics New Zealand data released today is ...
    11 hours ago
  • The clock is ticking
      Labour strongly supports the latest report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to have carbon emission targets set in legislation, carbon budgeting and an independent climate commission says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Megan Woods.  “Dr Jan Wright’s ...
    12 hours ago
  • Public support keeps Healthy Homes Bill on track
    The strong call from the public for warm, dry, healthy rentals has helped the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill to pass its second reading, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    15 hours ago
  • More proof National not delivering for New Zealanders
    The Ministry of Social Development’s latest Household Incomes Report is more hard evidence of the growing poverty in New Zealand, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National claims to be delivering for New Zealanders. This report puts the lie ...
    2 days ago
  • Strong support from medical community for Healthy Homes Bill
    More than a thousand medical professionals, medical students, and other New Zealanders have shown their support for Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour will fund Buller Health Centre
    A Labour Government will fully fund the Buller Integrated Family Health Centre in Westport, confirming its commitment to the people of the West Coast and the role of central government to fund essential public services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s affordable promise for Auckland more smoke and mirrors
    The 26,000 additional houses National plans to build in Auckland on public land over the next decade include fewer than 5,000 affordable homes, while more than 60 per cent will be available for speculators to buy, says Leader of the ...
    3 days ago
  • National out of touch over immigration
    National’s abrupt backflip on their recently-announced changes to immigration shows they never understood the problem and just came up with a confused knee jerk response, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Regional communities and businesses were quite right to ...
    3 days ago
  • English out of touch on homelessness
    Bill English’s comments that he doesn’t know why people are complaining about the blowout in the number of homeless families the government is putting up in motels just shows how tired and out of touch National is after nine years, ...
    4 days ago
  • All Kiwis to have same standard of cancer care
    Labour is promising that all New Zealanders will have access to the same level of cancer care no matter where they live in the country, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “As someone who has survived cancer I ...
    4 days ago
  • Infrastructure announcement too long coming
    “What took you so long?” is Labour’s response to the Government’s announcement of a new infrastructure investment vehicle. Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says Labour announced its policy in 2015 to debt-finance infrastructure and service that debt with targeted ...
    4 days ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    National has no idea how to house the record number of people entering New Zealand, let alone cope with the pressure on health, education, and transport from this record population growth, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour to invest $4 billion in education
    Labour’s Education Manifesto will bring positive change across the education sector and is backed by a massive investment, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Labour’s plan will see an extra $4 billion invested over the next four years. It’s organised ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s shame: worst homelessness in the OECD
    National’s legacy is a housing crisis that has given New Zealand the worst homeless rate in the developed world, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour taking action on school donations
    Labour will end so-called voluntary school donations for the majority of parents across the country under its $4 billion plan to revitalise the education sector, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour has always been committed to a world-class free education ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour to work with Queenstown to build more houses
    Labour will work with Queenstown-Lakes District Council, iwi, and the Community Housing Trust to build the modern, affordable housing Queenstown desperately needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats blow the Budget on motels after bowling state houses
    National is spending $140,000 a day putting homeless families in motels, the legacy of nine years of selling off and knocking down state houses, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • New revelations in Joanne Harrison report
    The State Services Commission’s report into the treatment of whistle-blowers by Joanne Harrison has revealed new accusations against the convicted fraudster, says Labour MP Sue Moroney.  “The report found that four staff inside the Ministry of Transport who had raised ...
    1 week ago
  • Snafu at Princess Margaret
    Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “The Government must accept that Christchurch is still recovering ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s fiscal plan to build a fairer New Zealand
    Labour will re-build our housing, health and education while responsibly managing New Zealand’s finances, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “Under Labour’s Fiscal Plan we will deliver big investments in the services we all need and care about, invest ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats show they’re the tax dodgers’ best friends
    The government is taking the knife to IRD at a time when we need a highly skilled department to ensure that multinationals and speculators don’t get away with dodging tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour secures the future for NZ Super
    A Labour Government will secure the future for New Zealand Superannuation so we can continue to provide superannuation to those retiring at age 65, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “One of the first things a Labour-led Government will ...
    1 week ago
  • Multinationals must pay fair share of tax
    A Labour Government will crack down on multinational companies that are dodging paying their fair share of tax, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “New Zealanders are missing out by hundreds of millions according to the IRD because multinational companies can ...
    1 week ago
  • ACT’s approach to children backward and ill informed
    Act’s new deputy leader’s claim that Labour’s support for families could “extend the misery of child poverty and even child abuse” is ill informed and offensive, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Canterbury hatchet job a disgrace
    The Government’s glib acceptance of advice that the Canterbury District Health Board doesn’t need more money is a hatchet job and a disgrace, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “To claim that the DHB was using tactics to leverage more ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Quality for Kiwi kids at ECE
    After more than a decade of rapid growth in the number of children participating in Early Childhood Education (ECE), it’s time to take stock and map out a clear plan for the future, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to boost ECE quality
    Labour will ensure kids get the best start in life by boosting funding for Early Childhood Centres to employ 100 per cent qualified and registered teachers, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour will stump up a million dollars for Maniototo Hospital
    A Labour led Government will make a million dollars available to rebuild the Maniototo Base hospital in Ranfurly, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “This will be a much needed boost for a long overdue rebuild that has ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No vision for the West Coast
    The West Coast welcomes any Government investment in our region but the lack of any real alternative vision for the West Coast’s economy is disappointing, says Damien O’Connor Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP.  “The establishment of a Mining Research Unit will ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s youth work scheme too little too late
    After nine years, National’s belated attempt to provide work opportunities for unemployed youth should be seen for what it is, a half-hearted, election gimmick from a party that’s ignored the problem till now, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis won’t fall for Joyce’s spin
    Steven Joyce’s embarrassingly obvious spin on Labour’s Families Package won’t fool anyone, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour prioritises families and public services
    Labour’s Families Package delivers a bigger income boost to more than 70 per cent of families with children than Budget 2017. By not spending $1.5 billion a year on tax cuts, Labour is able to do more for lower and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis can’t sleep in your ghost houses, Nick
    The Government’s housing infrastructure announcement is another Nick Smith special – over-promising with no detail on delivery, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour helps older New Zealanders and low income families with winter heating bills
    Labour will further boost its commitment to warm, healthy housing with a Winter Energy Payment for superannuitants and people receiving main benefits, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Everyone deserves a warm, healthy home to live in. But that’s ...
    2 weeks ago