Judith Collins must go

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, August 19th, 2014 - 67 comments
Categories: john key, Judith Collins, national, national/act government - Tags:

Back in March of this year John Key issued Judith “Tipline” Collins a final warning after she misled the media and him over how many meetings she had with Oravida Management during that fateful visit to China.

Stuff had this report:

Prime Minister John Key has signalled Justice Minister Judith Collins is on her final warning after she withheld details of a dinner in China with a company linked to her husband.

The dinner was with senior members of Oravida, a company that deals with New Zealand dairy products, and a senior Chinese government official. Collins’ husband David Wong-Tung is a director of the company.

Key met Collins this morning to express his disappointment that she did not come clean when questions were first raised about her visiting Oravida offices during her official visit to China last year.

Key said the cumulative effects of her interactions with Oravida could lead to a perception of a conflict of interest.

“I made clear to her in no uncertain terms how disappointed I was,” he said.

“She’s an outstanding minister but she’s handled this situation very poorly and I’ve made my feelings known to her directly this morning.”

Key said he had been left exposed because he had based his public defence of Collins on the incomplete information she had given him.

Collins had “misled by omission” and had a responsibility to reveal all the meetings she had in China, private or not, saying “she certainly should have made me aware of [the dinner]”.

“Judith had a responsibility when she was asked the questions not just to answer the question directly but to tell me and the New Zealand public everything that had gone on,” he said.

Instead, she had allowed events to accumulate, leading to the perception of a conflict of interest “and that’s unacceptable”.

Collins had assured him she did not discuss matters of national interest with the Chinese official and that it was just a personal dinner, and he accepted that, he said.

When asked whether this was a final warning for Collins he said “I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes if there was a repeat of it”.

“I just hope there wouldn’t be a repeat of this,” he said.

The Hager book has set out a number of claims about Collins for Key to consider and if he considers them properly Collins’ Ministerial career must be toast.

Chapter 4 of Hager’s book discusses the Collins Slater relationship.  It is possibly the most distressing part of the book. The cynical vile personal attacks Slater is willing to make and foster are bad enough but for a Minister of the Crown to willingly engage herself in this sort of approach to politics shows how morally bankrupt this Government is.

Mike Smith has highlighted the appalling attack on a public servant that occurred. Some will no doubt try and say that Collins could not predict how Slater would use the information or the outpouring of hate against an innocent public servant but she was a firm believer in “rewarding with double” and she knew Slater’s operating mode which by then was well established. She had to have a pretty good idea what was going to happen after Slater had received the information.

lprent has highlighted an astounding instance where an employee in Collins Minister’s office was told to turn around an OIA request from Slater within 30 minutes so that a reporter could be attacked. I bet every reporter in the mainstream media shook when they heard of this claim. The book describes a cynical process where legitimate OIAs were held up and Slater given the inside running so that he could break the story with suitable National spin applied. The effect of the book amongst the population at large is only just starting to be felt but I suspect that its effect on the fourth estate has been immediate and profound.

The other allegations made by Hager include these:

  • Collins being unworried at the leaking of police evidence,
  • Collins disclosing to Slater information about the Bronwyn Pullar incident and there is still a question of how the email from Michelle Boag to Collins was leaked to the media,
  • Collins disclosing to Slater all sorts of information and acting as a conduit between other National Ministers such as Amy Adams and Slater.

Are these instances and the Oravida failure to disclose incidence evidence of the same? They all show an appalling attitude to the media and anyone who Collins thought was a political problem was attacked.

Key was asked about the attacks yesterday morning by Guyon Espiner on morning report.  Stuff contains this description of the interview:

Key is standing by Collins, and said he did not know all the details of the scenario, so would not go into it.

“I don’t know all of the details behind all of that,” Key said on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report [yesterday].

“What I do know, is that it [the book] is a series of selective pieces of information, many of which can’t be backed up.”

The allegations were a “smear campaign” from the Left, he said.

How can a responsible Prime Minister admit that he does not know all the details and then use this as an excuse not to find out all the details? He has been very clever with the selection of information that he wants to know but this now looks like a charade. And where in the western world would these sorts of attacks on so called political opponents by a Minister using the resources and power of her office by tolerated?

John Key, it is time for Judith Collins to go.

67 comments on “Judith Collins must go”

  1. vto 1

    When John Key says… “don’t know the details sorry…”

    Can a journalist please ask him to find out the details?

    • Vagabundo 1.1

      Guyon Espiner in the RNZ interview basically asked him why he won’t ask Collins for the details. His voice went up a pitch and he made a very feeble attempt at blustering. To sum up, he “doesn’t know the details” and there’s no way in hell he’s going to find out. It’s the John Banks “didn’t read the police report and I never will” situation all over again.

      • You_Fool 1.1.1

        I am still waiting for the follow up questions when Key does this “So is this holding your ministers to higher ethical standards?”

        • Vagabundo 1.1.1.1

          Here’s the transcript of it, which seems accurate enough. Espiner asked Key a question to that effect, and Key basically gave a very incoherent answer to it.

          ESPINER: So this, this is just a way that dir, that politics is, now is it? This is dirty politics, but it’s OK?

          KEY: Well

          ESPINER: This is the moral leadership you seem to be presiding over here? Oh, well, it’s fair game, the door was open, so we came in and had a look around.

          KEY: Well, a left wing blogger worked out that the WINZ sites were open. And went.

          ESPINER: And so you uphold the same standards as some blogger do you, as the Prime Minister of New Zealand?

          KEY: No, what I’m saying to you,

          ESPINER: Well they are the analogies you’re giving me.

          KEY: No, they’re not, what I’m saying to you is, that a whole lot of assumptions were made in the book, or were cast that way, that were either would knowingly have been wrong because Nicky Hager must have known that was wrong: this is [?] that was broken into, or he was, you know, in such a rush to get the job out that was basically gone and run roughshod over the facts. But what I’m saying to you is that in the end, yeah, look, at the end of the day, people do look at things, and that’s just, that’s just the way it works.

          http://thestandard.org.nz/muddying-the-waters-transcript-key-on-rnz/

    • Chris 1.2

      Yes! That goes for all of the claims in the book. Nobody’s putting that squarely to him.

    • Tracey 1.3

      her final warning was for not revealling everything to the PM? Ergo, the PM knew everything she was doing with Slater so his rules werentbroken.

  2. ScottGN 2

    She should be sacked. Sadly it seems Key doesn’t have the guts for it so we’re all going to have to do it on Saturday, September 20th.

  3. Harriet 3

    Reminds me of low polling Julia standing beside Craig Thompson.

    Well not really, as Collins has done next to nothing compared to Thompson. And Key is the polar opposite to Julia – according to the polling numbers on females.

    The polls won’t be any different in Nov if she stays or goes.

    Key will do the gentlemanly thing and stick by her. Women would expect that.

    There’s more votes in women than there is in integrity. As you all know.

    • vto 3.1

      How do you get your forehead and eyebrows to do that, Judith?

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      Key will do the gentlemanly thing and stick by her. Women would expect that.

      Gufffaw!!! You gotta hang out with a better class of more discerning woman.

    • tricledrown 3.3

      Those who uphold the law should be above the laws
      Collin’s must go !
      Looks like McCready will have another former police minister in his sights!

    • tricledrown 3.4

      Harriet your an out of touch Dinosaur !
      It must really grate on your psyhc that your leader is off grovelling for the Maori vote today !

    • karol 3.5

      Have you read some of the stuff that Collins’ mates have written, as exposed in “Dirty Politics”? Collins and her male mates are no friends to women in general. Collins supports and runs with misogynistic men.

      The majority of women deserve better.

  4. Adrian 4

    People have surmised that Collins must have something on Key and pondered on what it could be. Isn’t it more likely that Slater has damning information on Key and that if that is available to anyone it is most likely to be Collins, Slater’s BFF.
    A great game is quessing what it may be, could it be around Key’s sudden unusual interest in NZ politics in the late nineties, unusual as this is a man who has professed no interest in the subject even to the point of being blissfully unaware of the the most criticial time in NZ politics, namely the Springbok Tour only a decade before.
    He has admitted he only wanted to be Prime Minister and rumours have swirled around monies he has alleged to have given the National Party to facilitate this, figures from 1 to 5 million have been mentioned. If proven this would be alarming, the old Democracy For Sale.
    Who would know?
    Well, the Nat Party President at the time was John Slater. 1998-2001, Cameron Slaters father.
    Coincidence? The truth always looks like coincidence until proven.
    As the said in the original Watergate, follow the money!

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    I think Collins should stay on 🙂

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Yip. Sacking her is Key’s best escape path at this point, the longer he delays it the worse he’ll look.

  6. philj 6

    I chatted to a cafe owner and he said his two friends in London were currency traders with Key and they laughed when told that Key couldn’t remember stuff. They said he had a fantastic memory. Key seems to have forgotten how frequently he contacts Slater though. Hmmm…

    • vto 6.1

      Of course he does. Key has a trap-like memory. And you could see that yesterday when he was asked about his message to the Fat Slug after he said “dead west coast feral did the world a favour”.

      Key said he remembered it very well. And you could tell that he did remember it in absolute detail. Just like you can tell he lies when he says he can’t remember things.

      Key is a liar.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      There’s one thing I’ve never doubted and that’s Key’s professionalism as a money trader. To be successful in that field he would need an absolutely incredible memory. IMO, If Key says he can’t remember something then it’s pretty much a given that he’s lying.

  7. millsy 7

    Key will not get rid of Collins. He is too smart for that.

    He knows that Collins hopes of leading the National party have been all but dashed, with these clouds hanging over her, and that her ministerial career has peaked.

    If (heaven forbid!) National win the election I think you will find that Judith Collins will be in the list of losers in the subsequent cabinet reshuffle.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      If (heaven forbid!) National win the election I think you will find that Judith Collins will be in the list of losers in the subsequent cabinet reshuffle.

      Uh, no. If National win:

      “It will be proof that the NZ public was smart enough to realise that Hager’s unfounded allegations against Judith Collins were both overwrought and insubstantial.”

  8. marsman 8

    Is there anything criminal in what Collins did? Would love to see her in jail, double bunking, in a used container in a private prison.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      For example, if her Ministerial appointments showed a pattern that suggested a serious conflict of interest, and there were corroborating evidence (in the form of emails, say) that showed less than pure motives, I think she might be in trouble.

      I won’t be holding my breath though.

    • Roy 8.2

      Pity the poor woman she double-bunks with in that situation, I’d say!

  9. Dont worry. Be happy 9

    What a fascinating proposition…Key bought his leadership of the National Party and that the Slater family, and their close friend Crusher Collins, would know the details.

    Follow the money indeed.

    Then of course the question is why would John Key want to be PM? Out of another book….”By their deeds ye shall know them.”

  10. Papa Tuanuku 10

    Every day that Collins stays on the tax payer payroll is an indictment on each and every one of us. If Collins is not gone by launch time on the 24th, we need to commit to protesting the Launch in Papatoetoe. #wedontwantyouhere. Let’s take our country back.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    How can a responsible Prime Minister admit that he does not know all the details and then use this as an excuse not to find out all the details?

    John Key isn’t a responsible PM. He’s someone who thinks that the position of PM is to help his rich mates get richer.

    And where in the western world would these sorts of attacks on so called political opponents by a Minister using the resources and power of her office by tolerated?

    Apparently, NZ.

  12. mickysavage 12

    Another release of information has been made by whaledump. The email used by Collins to tell Slater of Pleasant’s details came from her lawfirm email and not from her ministerial or parliamentary email.

    There can be a number of reasons for this but one is that it is much more difficult to OIA a private email address.

    • redfred 12.1

      Even better shows her sly duplicity.

      • mickysavage 12.1.1

        It suggests a desire on her part that her role in this incident not be exposed.

        • Kiwiri 12.1.1.1

          Bloody hell. The question is what other ministerial-related purposes, parliamentary matters or government business have been conducted through that email address or her other personal addresses so that she can avoid OIA, public scrutiny or leaving a formal record!

          • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1.1

            Probably quite a bit. We need a law that says government business must be done through recorded government channels and any done outside those channels is treason.

    • Tracey 12.2

      Her law firm? Does this mean she hods a current practising certificate?

      Cathy Odgers and Judith Collins, both count slater as a friend and both are tax lawyers. Funny that.

    • Hayden 12.4

      The ol’ Sarah Palin gambit. The problem there was that someone got hold of her private account, as I recall.

  13. disturbed 13

    News flash, Nat’s are now meeting at parliament around Judith Collins. BOOM

    • Kiwiri 13.1

      The Nat MPs need help – if Collin has a kind of blackmail over the PM, what hold has she got over some or many of the Nat MPs? If she is not removed now, she will only continue to blackmail her way to more power over Cabinet and the National Party.

  14. Sable 14

    I don’t see old Keys giving Collins the the shove unless he is forced to do so by the National party. In fact I predict he will come out in her support, the question that then needs to be asked is why?

  15. One Anonymous Bloke 15

    I notice Key has stopped referring to Slater as “the guy”: now he’s “Cam”.

    There’s been substantial speculation as to why Key can’t sack Collins.

    It occurred to me this morning: what Deep Throat Mark Felt said to Bob Woodward: “Follow the money”. What else can it be?

  16. One Anonymous Bloke 16

    And Bill English just cut Collins loose.

    It’s not a style that I like and I don’t participate in it. I wouldn’t do it, I wasn’t involved in any of it it’s not my style of politics, it’s certainly not John Key’s style.

    “I certainly wouldn’t condone an attack by a blogger on public servant doing their job.”

  17. rob 17

    I find some of Judith Colins comments about fellow politicians highly offensive. If that kind of attitude was shown at my work place, either in public, or private correspondence, she would be spoken to.

  18. Tangled_up 18

    March this year:

    Prime Minister John Key has signalled Justice Minister Judith Collins is on her final warning after she withheld details of a dinner in China with a company linked to her husband.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9818950/Judith-Collins-comes-clean-about-dinner

    Today:

    Judith Collins’ decision to leak information to blogger Cameron Slater was “unwise” and she is now on her last chance, Prime Minister John Key says.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11311222

    • Tel 18.1

      Today’s spin and media releases have been so incredibly feeble I’m now starting to think the Nat’s are mentally unhinged.

    • Tracey 18.2

      a final warning, then a last chance… Next key will threaten to tell her dad and finally… A damehood

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.3

      Too funny: Key’s feeble excuses include this pearler, that Collins didn’t leak Pleasant’s name, when Whaledump proved she did just that three hours ago.

      Follow the money.

  19. The real loser if and when collins goes is oravida. Who will do their bidding in China now?

    • Tracey 19.1

      jamie lee ross is only recently weaned, the smell of milk still in his nostrils and the good people of botany behind him. Who beter as next minister for oravida.

      • The Al1en 19.1.1

        Maybe, he looks like the sort that will do as he’s told.

        But just weaned, with that bald patch, must be ‘bitty’ from little Britain.

  20. redfred 20

    Unbelievably Collins just given last last chance

    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11311222

    Collins and Slater must have the goods on Key.

    Key then blames Labour for a smear campaign…

    Keys clearly having a mental break.

    • wonderpup 20.1

      “Mr Key said that was still in place and denied she was now on her “last last” chance.”

      I snorted coffee all over my workstation. I would have paid good money to hear him say that.

  21. redfred 21

    Whaledump dumped again clearly showing Collins sent name and numbers contradicting her statement of numbers only…. last last last chance Mr Key?

  22. NZJester 22

    She must go? But guys this is only her second time on the last chance list and as long as she does not do anything wrong before next week her required time to be on John’s last chance list will have expired just like it did for the last offense she committed. Next week once the new evidence comes out of what else she has been doing she will have paid her dept to society for her wrong doing in John Keys eyes and will be ready to go back on his last chance list again for another week if he deems her crime serious enough. God help her if she gets caught out again before the end of the week and John has to put her on double or even triple last chance. He might ship her out of the country to somewhere like a holiday resort in Hawaii to think about what she has done. If she ever makes it to octet last chance in one week he will definitely fire her. After all there are 8 days in a week right?
    I mean guys John Key is not a monster and can only punish her for so long for committing the worst crime ever that a politician can commit. Getting caught out by the media.

    • Murray Olsen 22.1

      A week ago, I would have thought your post wasn’t serious. Now I’m not sure.

  23. daev 23

    So to must key and the entire national government

  24. daev 24

    So Amy Adams used Slater as well she got to go to

  25. Adrian 25

    Follow the money, the money Key paid the National party for the PMship and if he could hold on for long enough a knighthood. The only thing you can’t buy off the shelf with 100 mill.

  26. TheContrarian 26

    Yep – Collins has to go.

  27. disturbed 27

    TheContrarian
    +++1

  28. lurgee 28

    Every time I hear Key bleat, “The left do this too,” I really wish the journalists would challenge him on it:

    “When, Mr Key, have ‘the left’ abused their ministerial position to leak the identity of a public servant to an attack blog, so they can be held up to public abuse and threats? When have ‘the left’ abused the OIA process by alerting people to when information is being released and expediting the process?”

    Anyway, Collins has utterly, obviously lied, as she told Key she didn’t leak the name, just the job title (which is a bit like Slater’s attempts to get round name suppression). But it is right there in the email.

    Yesterday, Mr Key said he’d asked Ms Collins about the release of the civil servant’s name, identified as Simon Pleasants, and she told him she’d only passed on the job title to the blogger.

    Surely, she’s got to go after this? Key can’t let her carry on making him look really stupid.

  29. My husband & i think Judith Colins must go she has got away with to much over the past few years.
    Jane & peter Emerson

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