Let’s see if you hold your own people to account, shall we, after what you’ve done to Maurice.
Because, in my humble opinion, Collins is causing significant damage to National’s re-election chances.
She seems to think that the sacking/resignation of Maurice Williamson is unfair. This, in my opinion, shows that her judgment is clouded. Williamson’s approaching the police about the prosecution of someone who was not a constituent and who was a major donor to the National Party is wrong at so many levels. As I noted previously the Cabinet Manual is very explicit, Ministers should in no way involve themselves in decisions concerning Police Prosecutions. Williamson’s resignation/sacking was almost inevitable and completely justified.
Collins’ attacks on Labour’s Ross Robertson and then on Katie Bradford are frankly weird. A Member of Parliament talking to her about his daughter or a reporter expressing concern that her husband may have been overlooked because his mother in law is a political activist are not in breach of anything and in fact at a human level they are the sorts of things that the Minister for the Police could and should expect people to talk to her about.
But it appears that Collins cannot see this. Even if she thinks that it is all unfair her decision to attack a senior member of the media five months out from an election is bizarre. And her decision to attack publicly is breathtaking.
The treatment by the media in response shows this. These are some of the headlines that I have seen:
And these are from the four largest media outlets in the country. Why you would without proper justification attack a respected political reporter and risk the ire of the Press Gallery is beyond me.
News from National’s Northern Conference has been completely obliterated. The only other headline I saw was one from Bill English’s speech suggesting that Labour can still win this year’s election. How true is that.
The Media’s response to Collins was immediate. TVOne followed the story about Collins with one on Kelvin Davis which was worthy but it was very unusual that it would be given such priority. Kelvin and Labour will love receiving the publicity.
And to top it all it was revealed by TV3 that Oravida Kauri Ltd, a subsidiary of Oravida is engaged in the extraction and export of swamp Kauri. When asked about what she thought of the environmental damage caused to wetlands Collins said that she was not the Minister responsible for wetlands and she did not care.
Collins has issued an apology of sorts via twitter. If she wants to make a proper one she should ask a Catholic because Twitter is hardly the way to make a fulsome apology.
So what does John Key do? If he fires her then there will be significant repercussions and I am sure that National’s factional fissures will become evident. If he does not fire her then the MSM will no doubt investigate the Oravida scandal probably with increased gusto. And Key will continue to worry every time Collins says something public. There are no upsides here.
As a minimum I would expect Collins to be put on stress leave. And she must be close to the stage where her continued membership of Cabinet will no longer be an option.