John Key just taught Judith Collins not to mess with the Boag faction.
The Cabinet Manual required her to consult with him before announcing the defamation suits. He expressed support. Said Cabinet would decide on the funding. Suckered her in.
Then, at the last minute, word came Cabinet wouldn’t back her – as should have been obvious from the start to her, it was a political non-starter. Humiliatingly, she was forced to give up her bid for taxpayer assistance.
Now, she’s left with high and dry. She can’t drop the suits now without looking stupid. But she’ll look like a fool if she pursues them – a justice minister taking vexatious law suits – and may well end up having to pay the respondents’ costs, especially given the danger the courts will see in letting ministers use defamation suits as a political tool.
And all that cost will now be on her head.