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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?

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    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago