The original of this post by Rob Salmond at Polity is here.
Yesterday, John Key lied to Parliament. He made a very specific claim about a set of official documents, and those same documents show clearly that the claim was false.
First, here’s Key’s statement in Parliament, in response to a question from Labour’s Grant Robertson:
The [MFAT] paperwork shows right through this that not only did the Minister have a very busy programme, which the member wants to gloss over, all on judicial and justice issues, but, secondly, all the way through it talks about a private dinner.
I added the underlining to the critical phrases, in which Key assures Parliament that there was complete consistency throughout the planning process for Collins’ visit, and that the now infamous dinner with Oravida and the mystery Chinese border official was always intended to be private.
Well, let’s go to the tape, provided by those very same documents, as I summarized yesterday:
Collins specifically requests that MFAT invite Stone Shi and Julia Xu to whatever official event [redacted] attends1.
This document shows Collins attempting to engineer an official meeting between herself, Oravida, and [redacted Chinese Border Official].
MFAT officials learn2:
It appears Stone Shi has organised directly for the Minister to meet with a [redacted] (do they mean [redacted]) on Sunday evening. She would like you [NZ Ambassador to China] and Connie to attend.
Collins’ office directly requests briefing for the dinner, and also asks for Ambassadorial attendance3.
This document shows Collins not only arranging an official dinner for herself, Oravida, and [redacted Chinese Border Official], but requesting the New Zealand Ambassador to China attend, giving it even more official clout.
Collins’ office demands MFAT explain “why the Sunday dinner with [redacted] has not been included in the visit programme.”4
This document is utterly damning. It shows Collins wanted the dinner to have official status so badly that she question’s MFAT’s decision to leave it off the official programme.
These documents clearly contradict Key’s statement to Parliament not once, not twice, but three times. He was referring specifically to these documents in his statement. He lied.
If Key is anywhere near Wellington today, he simply has to come to the House to correct his answer. Deeply embarrassing that may be, but he cannot allow such blatant untruths to stand uncorrected.
They say its never the crime that gets you, it’s the cover up. How wretched must Judith Collins feel now that she has reduced the Prime Minister to lying in Parliament on her behalf, all in order to conceal an obvious and ugly truth.