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The National Party Caucus knew nuffink about Nick Smith’s problems

Written By: - Date published: 8:39 am, June 2nd, 2021 - 40 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, national, Parliament, same old national, workers' rights - Tags:

Last night the story about Nick Smith’s issues that caused his resignation finally broke, or did it?

Jenna Lynch at Newshub had the scoop.  Newshup, particularly Tova O’Brien appears to be the go to news media organisation for internal National leaks.

The article did not refer to the terms of the draft findings of the investigation however.  It may be that there is another story waiting to be completed and that the contesting of the terms of the draft report may be the hold up.

There were hints by some in the media that Trevor Mallard was the leaker.  As if.  Why leak it now rather than during last year’s election campaign?

Richard Harman has a much more plausible explanation.  He notes (paywalled) that Judith Collins warned the National caucus early last month that media were about to break a scandal involving one of the party’s MPs.  She then told Smith last Friday that the story involved him.  Clearly the leaking from within Caucus is continuing and Collins sounded rattled on Morning Report this morning when asked about this.

The anonymous comments by former staffers about Smith reported by Jenna Lynch are really out there.  They included these:

  • “Smith was notorious for that red mist”
  • “One of the most difficult assholes I’ve ever worked for”
  • “I have no fond memories of that guy”
  • “He was prone to bouts of extreme verbal anger towards other ministers and staff. It was out of the ordinary even then. But we didn’t complain because we were Gen Xers. We should have”
  • “Nick’s irrational and verbally abusive behaviour towards his staff was one of Parliament’s worst-kept secrets. Everyone from Ministerial Services, Parliamentary Services, the Prime Minister’s Office  and the bullying inquiry knew about it yet Nick’s staff continued to be collateral damage.”

The caucus has claimed that it knew nothing of what was happening.  Judith Collins said that she did.

It is hard to reconcile National MPs claims that they knew nothing with some of the former staffers’ comments particularly “[e]veryone from Ministerial Services, Parliamentary Services, the Prime Minister’s Office  and the bullying inquiry knew about it yet Nick’s staff continued to be collateral damage”.

This is a further set back for National.  When it should be trying to formulate an alternative vision for the country it is yet again engaged in putting out fires.  And this again feeds into the mantra that National MPs think they are born to rule.

This story has not concluded yet.

40 comments on “The National Party Caucus knew nuffink about Nick Smith’s problems ”

  1. Tricledrown 1

    Nasty National exposed again Collins herself is another nasty piece of work keeping the bad news to when Labour releases a budget that’s not so popular.
    So the damage is minimised.
    The next poll may see Collins finally dumped to cleanse National of its Nasty image .

    • " The next poll may see Collins finally dumped to cleanse National of its Nasty image "

      They are called the Nasty Natz for a reason,

      Luxon is the next Key but with the glow of righteous religion.

  2. GreenBus 2

    I absolutely love the National Party. What fun. Keep it coming. After decades of their arrogance and born to rule mantra, us kiwis are treated to reality politics, National style. All over the front pages and on internet news. Brilliant. They deserve it.

  3. AB 3

    "National MPs think they are born to rule"

    Not surprising since they so frequently do – and the social and occupational classes from which they arise always do, in one way or another.

    • No one should think they are born to rule in the future using the past as their criteria. There is so much wrong with that sort of thinking.

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        Oh you are so right. So what do you think can be done about that. Next step?

  4. tc 4

    "….should be trying to formulate an alternative vision for the country.." nailed it Mickey however we all know it's not in their DNA.

    The current govt's rectifying nationals vision in health, education , housing etc etc. Leopards and spots from the born to rules with refined rhetoric is all that's coming no matter who leads them.

    IMO 2020 showed a new generation of voters emerging and engaged in the voting process. Their distrust of the major parties across the globe has merit. National serve up more of the same.

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    They're really only being consistent – they know nuffink of consequence about most things.

  6. Tricledrown 6

    Collins spin doesn't cut the mustard.

    Collins says she warned colleagues a month ago but only found out about it in the news on Monday yet they knew before the last election.

    Dirty politics has come home to roost.

    National need to front up Nick Smith needs to front up looks like that everyone in National knew but the Spin Doctors set up a strategy to have everyone singing from the same page.

    But Collins duplicity on when she warned everybody doesn't add up.

    The media needs to ask some hard questions.

    • tc 6.1

      " The media needs to ask some hard questions " which never happens over a period of time to crack the facade.

      It's a once over lightly by nationals media mates and then maybe a dead cat or similar tactic.

  7. Noel 7

    So all this expense produced no change?

    • Descendant Of Smith 7.1

      Those things are only for executive arse covering. Tick box exercises to say we had policies in place. Gives them a way of firing people whose transgressions become too public.

      Doesn't stop the behaviour – might just make it more passive aggressive at best.

  8. Anne 8


    At the end of clip Collins tries to finger Trevor Mallard. Infers he and Parliamentary Services have something to explain. Her usual trick – changing the narrative and planting the idea that Trev and his PS mates leaked the information?

  9. ghostwhowalksnz 9

    I see the old chestnut about MPs being both direct managers of staff and unfirable MPs means 'nothing can done' …yeah right.

    Yes they can, its easy: repeated pattern of misbehavior means the staff entitlements are slowly removed until 'the beatings stop' ( sarc)

    As it happens now Parliamentary Services aids and abets outrageous behavior from some MPs, as they pay out any staff and happily pay for their replacements. Why would Smith modify his behavior where he thinks hes the GOAT.

  10. ghostwhowalksnz 10

    As they say in the ads… theres more

    'Former National candidate Jake Bezzant is no longer a member of the party as serious allegations against him from an ex-girlfriend emerge.


    Sounds to me like the factions have some infighting spilling into public as the media leaked the details…now who would benefit from an ally of Paula Bennetts being exposed in this way.

    • Tricledrown 10.1

      Bennett had her own issues with a young man claiming she had abused him and threatened to sue him but never did. His post remains up online.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1.1

        That was around Bennetts 'life on the DPB' and as organiser of the Napier Tattoo ( social) club

  11. Gabby 11

    I mean Judee wouldn't have any idea how to go about getting info to handpicked journos to get rid of a hasbeen colleague. The thought would probably never cross her mind, good christian lady that she is.

  12. Ad 12

    It will be fun to see Judith Collins defends who knew what about the sex bullying charges against Jake Bezzant.

    They really know how to pick them.


  13. Stuart Munro 13

    There's an IT Crowd solution for every problem.

  14. Patricia Bremner 14

    Judith Collins and W Oil plotted to get MPs who favoured their ideas. The replacement for Nick looks like a right wing religious member imo. Slow but sure "renewal".The people change but obviously the behaviours don't, as they fit with the superiority.

    In the latest case, no real respect for women unless they are in a support role. In this case support for sexual gratification and immoral use of power.

  15. Tricledrown 15

    Revenge Porn not applicable to white well off males.

    Yet the police are in like a dogs robber if Maori protest over stolen land.

    • Patricia Bremner 15.1

      Tricledrown, that guy is appearing in court. Heard it on the news.

  16. Margaritte 16

    It really looks tome like national are trying to pre-empt the report from Parliamentary services here. This all seems carefully staged to take the sting out of the report when it is finally revealed.

  17. Ian 17

    Nick Smith is worth a brace of Mallards. Dirty politics is now firmly owned by the left

    • Muttonbird 17.1

      You claim this but is there any evidence Mallard leaked?

      Mind you, even if he did he's done New Zealand a major service. National would prefer to bury bad behaviour; Smith, Bezzant, JLR, Falloon, Boag, Walker, Merv. The list goes on and on and on.

      Atrocious behaviour, and worse is the attempted cover-ups.

    • McFlock 17.2

      Are you alledging Mallard slept with someone in an effort to get into a position to manipulate them to into making a previous consensual sexual relationship between them and one of Mallard's political opponents public? /sarc

    • Drowsy M. Kram 17.3

      Truly desperate assertions, imho. Recently revealed 'escapades' of Nick Smith and Jake Bezzant (the ‘scamp‘) show that Boag's historic campaign to "stop the rot" continues to be an abysmal failure. The National party is still hollow, still rotten, and still very dirty.

      Dirty Politics: Can National stop the rot?
      It doesn't support the values of the National Party I know,” Muller said.

      But that is wrong. These are very much the values of National, which has learned little since Dirty Politics. And a leader should not, once again, be allowed to distance himself from the nasty streak that has run through the party for a long time.

      Ex-Nat Jami-Lee Ross rose through the ranks of the party, valued for his bare-knuckle tactics. He was a top lieutenant of former leader Simon Bridges, whose attacks on Jacinda Ardern often strayed into unpleasantly personal territory.

      Ross recently described how a party strategy singled out toppled Clare Curran as a weak link. “National wanted to break her… we were awful” he wrote. Woodhouse was photographed holding a toilet seat with her face on it – an act on which Muller last week refused to comment.

      Michelle Boag, a PR operative who won the party presidency with a campaign to “stop the rot,” admitted being the source of the leaks. Boag was once criticised for using the leak of ACC clients' private information as leverage to get compensation for a friend. She was also censured for the secret filming of Winston Peters during the Winebox Inquiry.

      Hamish Walker, 35, entered this bear-pit environment, a newbie MP in 2017. He succeeded Todd Barclay, who also left Parliament in disgrace after allegations of clandestine recording.

      He might be the author of his own demise. But while his racist press release about Covid-19, and the privacy leak to justify it were not sanctioned by the party, he must have believed they would be acceptable.

      Muller’s only been at the helm a few weeks. There’s been no time for a culture change nor any evidence that he wanted to leave behind this legacy of toxicity. He even hired mischievous strategist Matthew Hooton, a prominent cast member of Dirty Politics and Hager’s 2006 book The Hollow Men.

      If Muller is truly to fix up Walker’s mess, then he needs to clean up National’s love of dirty politics.

      Press advisory on Judith Collins and the book Dirty Politics
      Anyone can check the chapter about Collins in Dirty Politics. It shows a pettiness and meanness, as she sent snippets of gossip and dirt to Cameron Slater and helped him to attack people on his blog — including details of a public servant who was then strongly attacked on Slater's blog, including receiving death threats. The chapter recounts where she recommended to Slater about some National Party internal politics: "Personally I would be out for total destruction… But then I've learned to give is better than to receive." She called it the "double" rule: "always reward with Double"; and said "If you can't be loved, then best to be feared."

    • Tricledrown 17.4

      Ian .Ever since the Exclusive Brethren's involvement with National back in 2004/5 Don Brash's dirty little helpers National have flung mud used Hollow men used Dirty politics to undermine the left.

      Now chooks coming home to roost cry babies can't handle the mess completely orchestrated by the likes of hooten Slater William's. Loading their extremist tobacco lobbyists into the National Party they have been found wanting from lines of white powder in Queenstown to bullying and sexual harassment.

      The National Pary has no one to blame but it self and its obsessive win at all Cost's groupies.

    • greywarshark 17.5

      Ian Dirty politics is now firmly owned by the left.

      Wrong word Ian I think you mean – observed by the left.

      And consequences follow when it is observed, we all know that. What has happened to the staffer who is not now employed in Parliament?

      Collins has previously told media the Parliamentary Service was alerted to the argument by a staff member of another MP who recorded the spat and then made a complaint.

      Without some form of defence the recording would likely be illegal, Collins told RNZ.
      “Having said that, I’m just giving you my legal advice on it. The second thing is that, of course, I’ve never heard it, don’t know the details and haven’t been advised of all the details.”

      Collins said she didn’t know the person who made the recording personally.
      “I don’t know the person myself. I probably would if I were to see the person.”

      The person no longer works for the National Party or Parliamentary Service, Collins said.
      It is not clear when the staffer left Parliament and under what circumstances.

    • Patricia Bremner 17.6

      Not according to locals!! They voted N Smith out.

    • Michael 17.7

      Wrong. very wrong. But I don't expect someone like you to see that.

  18. outofbed 18

    Having known Mr Smith for a number of years in Nelson

    I can report he is one of the most obnoxious people I have ever met.

    The Nelson Electorate public seem to love him.

    The Nelson mail was his chief cheer leader.

    At time the paper seemed to be like a National party handout.

    He has gone! About f*&^king time.

    [typo in user name fixed]

    • Prickles 18.1

      I have never understood why so many Nelsonians have backed Nick Smith. The reaction from most people I know was to cheer loudly at his departure. I've only been on the receiving end of his bile once and that was more than enough but a family member had to deal with him quite frequently. There were times when it appeared it was all NS could do to not lash out physically. Purple in the face and spitting as he shouted – a truly ugly spectacle.

      • greywarshark 18.1.1

        outofbed and Prickles are right.

        The Nelson Mail have always been kind to National and Nick Smith.

        A letter I wrote criticising him once resulted in him phoning me up to discuss the matter. I can't remember what it was about, nothing juicy, but he couldn't address the matter with a published reply as he should have done.

        He had a very active supportive electorate team which must have been a great boon to him. He had some money and at his start managed to run his electorate from part of his house, and for decades has had a hall attached to his office which is available to city groups at a low rent, or even no rent. Earlier he had a sort of boyish look and grin which seemed to charm people. And he has had a regular column, in the tabloid style now, it is a half page advertising what he has done, who he has seen, and his itinerary so he seemed to be working hard for Nelson people.

        And appearance is all in politics with people who have security of concern from the government as retired people are, who in a graph numbered 10,000 in 2018 and are expected to double that by 2048; the growth is with them, other age groups are lower and fairly stable. Another part of the pdf (which won't perform on my computer) says that this older group are about 25% of the population. https://www.nelson.govt.nz/assets/Our-council/Downloads/population-demographics/2017/Ageing-Population-Nelsons-Older-Population-Summary-of-Research-Feb2017-A1602240.pdf

        • Anne

          A letter I wrote criticising him once resulted in him phoning me up to discuss the matter. I can't remember what it was about, nothing juicy, but he couldn't address the matter with a published reply as he should have done.

          No matter how polite he may have been, that in itself was a sign of bullying.

  19. Jimmy 19

    I don't think too many people will be sad to see him go. In fact most people I have spoken to think he should have gone years ago.

    • In Vino 19.1

      Never found anything to admire in his utterances – to my mind he should never have come.

  20. JustMe 20

    Here is an observation but apparently Judith Collins knew about Nick Smith's problems even before the election last year and yet her deputy Shane Reti didn't know about it.

    Don't those two supposedly leader and deputy leader of National talk to each other????!!!!

    Surely keeping secrets even from each other within the National ranks and especially between Collins and Reti shows there are flaws within National???!!!!

    But to not communicate even to a fellow National MP shows how devious Judith Collins is prepared to be. She also demeans herself in ranking and rating due to HER lack of communication.

    It also shows we cannot trust Collins to be honest with us NZers if be some misfortune she became prime minister of New Zealand.

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