Judith Collins owes an explanation to voters

By   /   November 20, 2017  /   16 Comments

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It is unquestionably the role of the Parliamentary Opposition to question the government and hold it to account. Along with the media (as flawed as it sometimes is), a strong Opposition is a necessary function of a healthy democracy. But having someone like Judith Collins, who has so many unanswered questions hanging over her, demanding accountability undermines the effectiveness of the Opposition.

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National’s narrative continues

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The National Party is continuing with it’s strategy to question and undermine the legitimacy of the  Labour-Green-NZFirst coalition government.

On 24 October,on Radio NZ’s Morning Report,  Bill English questioned whether or not Labour had a mandate to govern;

“ The voters at large probably expected that if you got 44 and a half percent of the vote, you were some part of the government or the big part of it.

[…]

How to hold to account a government that’s been put together in an unusual way.

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Just remember this is a prime minister who’s the first one in a hundred years who lost the popular vote and lost it by quite a bit.

… It didn’t win the vote.

[…]

when an election is lost, a larger party captured the direction New Zealand wanted to go in.

On further questioning, English was forced to concede that Labour had a mandate;

I accept that, absolutely… It’s a legitimate result…

Well, I’ve been saying all year that the… all the other parties put together can beat you on the day. And that’s what happened on Thursday. So that’s MMP. That’s how it works.

On the 10th of November, Judith Collins took up the narrative, questioning whether or not Peters had been conducting coalition negotiations in good faith;

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Collins complained that because Winston Peters had filed legal action against several National MPs and their staff, that this constituted “bad faith” bargaining;

At the time, we were very much convinced on our side there were genuine negotiations going on. But I’ve got to say, it’s not looking like it was quite so genuine anymore.

She further demanded an explanation from the NZ First leader;

“ I think Winston Peters should really explain himself to the public because there were a lot of voters who were disappointed in his decision.  I think New Zealanders are owed an explanation. Was he being genuine, or was it just a play?”

Now this is richly ironic on several levels.

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Bargaining in good faith

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Firstly, I am reminded of National’s legislative changes to workplace collective bargaining in 2014. As MoBIE reported at the time, “good faith bargaining” was watered down to the extent that “the duty of good faith does not require collective agreement to be concluded“;

Before the law change, parties bargaining for a collective agreement were required to conclude that agreement unless there was genuine reason not to. The change means that a collective agreement does not have to be concluded, however parties must still deal with each other in good faith.

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2014 came into effect on 6 March 2015 and passed provisions in the Bill that “providing that the duty of good faith does not require parties to reach a collective agreement“.

So providing that employers could show they “acted in good faith“, there was no onus on them to conclude bargaining to achieve a collective agreement.

Sound familiar?

It should. It’s what Judith “Crusher” Collins has complained about;

At the time, we were very much convinced on our side there were genuine negotiations going on. But I’ve got to say, it’s not looking like it was quite so genuine anymore.

The richest irony of all; National complaining that bargaining to establish a “collective agreement” for a National-NZFirst Coalition was not conducted in good faith.

“Good faith bargaining” and the “National Party” – not words we usually associate together in the same sentence.

My heart bleeds.

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New Zealanders owed an explanation?!

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Collins was engaging in some loud, toy-tossing whining when she demanded “I think Winston Peters should really explain himself to the public because there were a lot of voters who were disappointed in his decision.  I think New Zealanders are owed an explanation”.

While we’re about who is owed explanations by whom, let’s re-cap on some matters that arose  in the last nine years of National’s governance – and remain outstanding ;

2009 – Paula Bennett releases personal details relating to two solo-mothers, after they challenged the Minister’s decision to cease the Training Incentive Allowance (which Bennett herself used to gain a free tertiary education);

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Not only did  Bennett not apologise  for misusing personal information for political point-scoring – she hinted she would do it again;

 …it would depend on the circumstances.

Paula Bennett: New Zealanders are owed an explanation.

2013 & 2014 – Judith Collins was revealed to have close connections with Oravida, which her husband was also a director of. Collins;

  • opened Oravida’s new Auckland headquarters in October 2013
  • whilst on a tax-payer funded trip to China, Collins had a private  dinner-function  with Oravida bosses and an un-named senior Chinese border official
  • on the same tax-payer funded trip to China,  Collins “stopped by”  Oravida’s Shanghai offices “on the way to the airport” – despite Oravida’s offices being   thirty kilometres in the opposite direction
  • prior to Collins’ dinner at Oravida’s Shanghai offices, Oravida  sought assistance from the NZ Government on Chinese border control problems
  • received donations totalling $86,000 for the National Party coffers
  • received thousands of dollars of donations from other Oravida-linked sources

The perception of a severe conflict of interest where Collins may have mis-used her Ministerial position to further Oravida’s interests remain unanswered.

Judith Collins: New Zealanders are owed an explanation.

2014 – Judith Collins (again) was uncovered sharing information – including personal information, leaks, and gossip – with far-right blogger, Cameron Slater.

In his book ‘Dirty Politics‘, investigative journalist Nicky Hager Mediaworks outlined how Collins had;

  • … discussed details of the Bronwyn Pullar ACC case with Mr Slater and she may have been behind the leak;
  • … fed Mr Slater a constant stream of gossip, for example, anecdotes about Labour MP Trevor Mallard making a fool of himself;
  • … may have been involved in a prisoner transfer requested by Mr Slater, while she was Corrections Minister;
  • … emailed Mr Slater the name of a ministerial services staff member who he went on to attack on his blog.

Collins was also accused of running a vendetta against then Serious Fraud Office Director, Adam Feeley, and working with Slater to destroy the SFO boss’s career.

In 15 August 2014, then-Dear Leader Key refused categorically to  sack or even investigate Collins for alleged mis-use of ministerial power;

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most corrupt politicioan in NZ's history - judith collins

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Two weeks later, she was gone-burger. Collins had “resigned”;

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(Unsurprisingly, Collins was later “cleared” of allegations that “she was working with Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater to get rid of former Serious Fraud Office  boss Adam Feeley”.  Evidently, despite several fifteen minute telephone calls between Slater and Collins, Justice Lester Chisholm insisted that the “Whaleoil” blogger had ” over-embellished” when he sent emails saying Collins was “gunning for Feeley”. Yeah, right.)

Yet, questions still persist surrounding Collins’ dealings with Cameron Slater and people she allegedly tried to destroy.

Judith Collins: New Zealanders are owed an explanation.

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Conclusion

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It is unquestionably the role of the Parliamentary Opposition to question the government and hold it to account. Along with the media (as flawed as it sometimes is), a strong Opposition is a necessary function of a healthy democracy.

But having someone like Judith Collins, who has so many unanswered questions hanging over her, demanding accountability undermines the effectiveness of the Opposition.

Collins’ time has come and gone. She should resign from Parliament altogether and let her place be taken by someone untainted by dubious associations; questionable conflicts of interest; and allegations of mis-use of ministerial power.

Other MPs have resigned for less.

 

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References

Radio NZ:  Bill English faces first caucus since defeat (alt.link)(audio)

Mediaworks:  Winston Peters ‘not genuine’ in coalition talks – Judith Collins

Mediaworks:  Winston Peters takes legal action against National Party over leak ‘plot’

MoBIE:  Law changes to collective bargaining

MoBIE:  Amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000 (March 2015)

NZ Herald: Bennett gets tough with outspoken solo mums

Dominion Post: Minister defends releasing private details

Fairfax media: Bennett won’t rule out releasing beneficiary details

Mediaworks: Timeline – Judith Collins and Oravida

Mediaworks: Key won’t investigate Collins claims

Interest.co.nz:  Judith Collins resigns after revelation of Slater email saying she was “gunning for Feeley”; Collins denies campaigning to oust SFO Director; Key says Collins had to go

Mediaworks:  Judith Collins cleared of colluding with Whale Oil blogger Slater

Fairfax media: How did Key mislead Parliament?

Other Blogs

The Paepae:  The Judith Collins Chisholm inquiry – Who was actually on trial?

The Standard:  Collective bargaining? Yeah right

Previous related blogposts

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How (Part # Toru)

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How (Part # Rua)

Hon. Paula Bennett, Minister of Hypocrisy

“Dirty Politics” and The Teflon Man

Observations on the 2017 Election campaign… (Iwa)

“Fool me once”…

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= fs =

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16 Comments

  1. Observer Tokoroa says:

    Females who don’t give a Sh….

    It is quite amazing that Judith Collins and Paula Bennett think they are the nice face of the National Party.

    In fact, the women of National have shown themselves to be coarse rustic cowboys in skirts, compared with other females in Parliament.

    I suppose downhill is the only way they could go under the leadership of those rabid liars Key and English. Hate the people. Love the wealthy. Suck up to the Foreigners.

    National and its overblown Media is a total dying disappointment.

    • Wensleydale says:

      It’s often said that women in any profession must be twice as good as the men, simply in order to be awarded equal credit. I imagine this is true within the reeking mire that we know and loathe as the National Party. The ladies must be twice as conniving, twice as mealy-mouthed, twice as hypocritical and twice as sanctimonious, or they risk being ignored and relegated to political irrelevancy.

  2. Kim dandy says:

    Judith is up to her eyeballs in it.
    If our MSM had done their job properly, she, and the rest of her party would have been gone years ago.

  3. Samwise says:

    In my opinion the woman is corrupt. Or at the very least has an over-inflated sense of entitlement and hopelessly poor judgement.

    She has to go.

  4. bert says:

    If Collins had any sense of self reflection, she would have resigned some time ago.

  5. bert says:

    The accompanying photo to your headline Frank, could well have been that of John Key in drag, another smiling assassin!

  6. mary_a says:

    The whole of Natz opposition are caustic. However Bennett and Collins are light years ahead of their caucus, having consistent history of spitting toxin from their venomous vipers’ nest!

    Collins should have gone years ago. But courtesy of a Natz compliant media, unfortunately she’s still there. I wouldn’t mind betting there is more corruption tucked away somewhere with the rest of the filth!

  7. patricia bremner says:

    Judith Collins is very like Bill Birch. Doing deals for self enhancement and everything to harm ordinary people.

    National and their supporters have a “born to rule” mentality.

    That is why they are having trouble accepting the election result.

    It couldn’t be that people had turned away from them, no no, it had to be Winston’s fault.

    Bill English under estimated Jacinda Ardern, and mistakenly thought Winston wanted baubles when he wanted fairness for NZers.

  8. ALH84001 says:

    Collins is a disgrace. But more so are those voters who re-elected her in her electorate, Papakura. It seems those Papakura voters don’t care if their MP has behaved disgracefully.

    • cleangreen says:

      Yes Judith Colins is a corrupt mobster simple as that.

      She is so arrogant and untrustworthy, we hope Winston’s court preceedings find her guilty along with her “crime sister” Paula Bennett.

    • Michelle says:

      what about the 46% that voted for the status quo they must be blind deaf and dumb. To turn a blind eye to all the lies what does this say about the type of people we have in our country.

  9. Priss says:

    Brilliant expose, Frank.

    I’m surprised Labour’s strategists haven’t cottoned on to Collins’ dark past and thrown it back at her at Question Time.

    Can government ministers ask questions of Opposition MPs??

    You should put this in a letter to the editor. It deserves wider dissemination.

  10. Andrea says:

    “and let her place be taken by someone untainted by dubious associations;”

    Frank: that quote alone qualifies you as Optimist of the Year.

    “should really explain himself to the public because there were a lot of voters who were disappointed in his decision. I think New Zealanders are owed an explanation.”

    Did we ever get any reasonable explanation about why we had a hike in GST and a slash in payments to the Super Fund when we were supposedly running a rock star economy and National had seen us through the perils of the GFC in a manner more glorious than credible?

    We have to separate the way we are governed from the aspirations of People Who Love to Be Politicians because they are NOT ‘public servants’. The ends they have in mind may or may not coincide with what’s actually needed. (Cycle-paths for high-grade employment anyone?)

    There is so much jinking and skulduggery, self-serving, and scoundrelly behaviour: how does any of that actually help the people who voted them in, or the well-being of the country?

    We’re centuries past the times of Samuel Pepys and the harvesting of favours at the expense of others in the country – aren’t we?

    The whole system is overdue for revision.

    • Frank: that quote alone qualifies you as Optimist of the Year.

      I ‘fess up, Andrea… I am indeed. God knows you have to be to keep any semblance of sanity. (Though any claim I have to sanity may be disputed by others, LOL!)

  11. Stuart Munro says:

    Is not Judith also behind the company that cut the aviation fuel pipeline? That’s a matter that she should be explaining to. To a judge.

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