Judith Collins – Foot in Mouth Award? Or something more sinister?

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Former Police, Corrections, and Justice Minister in the previous John Key government, Judith Collins, has been ridiculed on social media after posting a comment on Twitter that was patently untrue;

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

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Wrong!! National did not remove Prisoners’ ability to vote. Parliament voted through a Private Member’s Bill not a Govt Bill. Note where NZF voted. Restoring prisoners’ right to vote still not a priority – Andrew Little | Newshub

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Ms Collins stated-as-fact “National did not remove Prisoners’ ability to vote. Parliament voted through a Private Member’s Bill not a Govt Bill. Note where NZF voted“.

Twitter posters were quick to point out that the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010 was indeed a National government Bill. The Bill was introduced by then-National MP, Paul Quinn, on 10 February 2010.

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Mr Quinn’s Bill passed it’s third reading on 8 December 2010, with National’s fiftyeight MPs and ACT’s five MPs voting it into law.

Labour, the Greens, the Māori Party, Jim Anderton (as the Progressive Party), and Peter Dunne (as the United Future)  voted against the Bill. Contrary to Ms Collins advising people to “note where NZF voted” – New Zealand First was not even present in Parliament at the time.

The Bill received Royal Assent from the Governor General seven days later, formally becoming the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010.

Ms Collins was wrong in almost every respect in her August 12, 2019  Twitter post: the law was National’s from beginning to end.

Her blunder (or wilful misrepresentation) was compounded when her Leader, Simon Bridges, publicly confirmed Ms Collins’ “tweet” as mis-information;

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It’s our law – we believed in it then and we still believe in it so we will oppose change. Quite simply if you do a crime that’s serious enough for jail you lose a number of rights, including most importantly your liberty, but also we think it’s right while you’re in prison you lose that right to vote.”

Simon Bridges’ statement owning the 2010 law change made Judith Collins look like a complete fool. She was lucky that her Twitter post did not gain wider media and public traction. (Those two really need to talk more often.)

This is not the first time Ms Collins has publicly mis-represented an issue. In August last year, Ms Collins used social media to promote a bogus ‘story’ from a fake news site;

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The mainstream media coverage was brutal in condemnation;

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Ms Collins was unrepentant, resorting to verbal gymnastics to defend her ‘right’ to spread lies;

I still share them because, actually, I don’t believe in censorship on people’s ideas.”

And politicians wonder why the public do not trust politicians?

National’s current Leader, Simon Bridges, made no attempt to reprimand his MP, saying;

“I’ve liked things before, actually genuinely accidentally. I think when you’re scrolling through things, you know that’s created its own little controversy. I think in this case Judith Collins feels strongly about the issue, that’s legitimate. But it is a wrong source, she acknowledges that, and we should in general try and get them right.”

The reason that Mr Bridges failed to tell Ms Collins to remove her fake news post was simple and had little to do with fearing a challenge from his errant MP.

Ms Collins, along with every other National MP and Party apparatchik are presently engaged in a Trumpesque campaign to win next year’s election. Whether this involves half-truths or shonky data, or outright spread of lies – National will do whatever it takes to win.

As Chris Trotter wrote this month (15 August 2019);

“And so it begins, the National Party’s simultaneous descent and ascent. Downwards, into the dark territory of “whatever it takes”. Upwards, into the glare of electoral victory. It’s happening because the party’s present leader has convinced himself that it is only the first movement which makes possible the second.

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That is no small matter. Once truth and propaganda become fused in the minds of one’s followers, debate and discussion become redundant. If one’s opponents are all outrageous liars, then engaging with them in any way is pointless. Rather than waste its time, a political party should, instead, target all its messages at those who have yet to grasp the full mendacity of the other side. Tell these “persuadables” the truth – your truth – before the other parties tell them theirs.”

Whether Ms Collins knew that her comments regarding the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010 was true or not is utterly irrelevant.

National has entered into a propaganda blitz. They will use half-truths, exaggeration, out-of-context material, distortions, and outright fabrications to win next years’ election.

Whatever it takes.

They will use dog-whistles; throw ‘red-meat’ to bigots; demonise every group that their conservative base despises.

Whatever. It. Takes.

Thus is the style of election campaign strategy set from now till Election Day: Whatever it takes.

With an under-resourced mainstream media, it will be a Herculean task for journalists to keep track of National Party propaganda. It may take a day to fact-check assertions from National MPs – and by then, party apparatchiks will have moved on to the next part of their diabolical strategy. (Though on 29 July, on Radio NZ’s “Morning Report Gyles Beckford challenged National leader Simon Bridges with dogged determination we rarely hear these days. )

Fortunately, they will still fail. New Zealanders, for the most part, don’t take kindly to Trumpian-style politics. And Simon Bridges is certainly no flamboyant Trump.

The only certainty is that Simon Bridges will not be leading the National Party in 2021.

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References

Wikipedia: Judith Collins, Former Police, Corrections, and Justice Minister

Twitter: Judith Collins – Prisoner Voting – 8:59AM August 12, 2019

Parliament: Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010

Parliament: Paul Quinn

Parliament: Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill — Third Reading

Wikipedia: NZ First – 2008 General Election

Radio NZ: NZ First tightlipped on prisoners’ voting rights

Twitter: Judith Collins – Fake News Twitter – 12:36 PM  Aug 6, 2018

Mediaworks/Newshub: Judith Collins defends her fake news tweet to Jacinda Ardern

TVNZ: ‘I don’t believe in censorship’ – Judith Collins stands firm over tweeting from ‘fake news’ site

Fairfax/Stuff media: Judith Collins defends linking to fake news article on France consent laws

Fairfax/Stuff media: Judith Collins digs in heels on fake news story

Radio NZ: Collins on fake news tweet: ‘I don’t believe in censorship’

NewstalkZB: Judith Collins slammed for retweeting fake news

Radio NZ: Collins’ fake news blunder a Bridges fail

Twitter: National Party – manufacturing graph – twitter – 5.24 PM  Aug 16, 2019

The Daily Blog: Chris Trotter – Simon Bridges Leads National Down Into The Dark

National Party: Tell them to go home, Prime Minister (alt.link)

Radio NZ: Simon Bridges criticises govt’s cancer treatment spending

Other Blogs

The Daily Blog: Prisoner Rights Blogger wins for Human Rights

Green:  Prisoner voting ban needs to be repealed

The Green Blog: Prisoner voting disqualification and the Bill of Rights Act

Public Address: Fact-checking Parliament – more prisoners can vote than they think

Werewolf: Robbing the Vote

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The Daily Blog: The madness of Judith Collin’s fake news tweet

The Standard: Is Judith Collins willing to denounce the use of fake news?

The Standard: Of course Judith should #DeleteTheTweet

Previous related blogposts

Twelve fun facts about National’s failed housing policies for Parmjeet Parmar to consider

Democracy denied – Labour’s saddest failing

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Whenever I see a photograph of jude collins I’m reminded of how I’ve yet to get around to clawing out my own eyes. Another tiresome chore similar to meaning to get around to deafening myself lest I hear the Shh’s’s slithering off kath ryans leathery tongue.
    If you vote for jude collins you must surely be a sadistic masochist. On the up-side, at least you’ll get something out of it, unlike everyone else.

  2. Blatently lying should not be acceptable. Collins should be stepped down as is any other politicians that publicly lie on social media.

    If they don’t do that, then people will not know whether to believe or not believe in what anybody from parliament is saying if they are allowed to tell untruths.

    Not acceptable.

    • We can’t censor them, mate. If we did they wouldn’t be able to lie anymore, and it’s all they know how to do. Like the GOP in the States, National know they can’t win unless they use dirty tricks to skew the odds in their favour – part of that involves fudged numbers, dodgy stats and telling a selection of carefully nurtured falsehoods. Their warm embrace of the Crosby/Textor style of political campaigning illustrates this more than adequately. The average punter has neither the time nor the inclination to sift through the dross in order to locate the kernels of truth within, and they still, somewhat naively, rely on the MSM to tell them what’s happening without partisan bias (fat chance of that in this country). Above all, you can rely on National to be dishonest. And probably vindictive.

  3. Good analysis Frank, again just presenting the facts exposes National’s unbelievable malpractice (deceit?). That NZF clanger is embarrassing, a first year political science student should take her place in caucus.

  4. If Collins isn’t careful, her reputation and credibility with the media will be worse than it is now. Trumpian politics works in the US because of socio-economic conditions that have impacted badly on working and middle class folk. Add to that their toxic two-party political system; unfettered corporate capitalism; and unaffordable healthcare, and a demagogue like Trump has fertile ground to sow his poisonous seeds of hate.

    New Zealanders reject that kind of demagoguery. (At least, I hope so.) The failure of Act to gain popular support indicates that we Kiwis have little stomach for toxic politics.

  5. Oh dear, Ms Collins! She must labour under the delusion that none of us has access to Google. Or a functioning memory…

  6. I suppose it could be argued that TECHNICALLY Collins is correct, because it technically it WAS a private member’s bill.
    BUT
    in reality it was a government bill masquerading as a private members bill.
    If you looked through historical records you would find other examples, by Labour as well.
    It is a well known tactic to give some anonymous back bencher a day in the limelight, hopefully lifting their profiles and chances at the next election.
    In this case it was clearly aimed to get Quinn support from the “hang ’em from the highest tree” chest pounders – that’s who National relies on when it feels vulnerable.

  7. It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, the msm reports on Collins’ latest issuing of lies

    Her record on Oravida should’ve totally destroyed her political rep and career. Its an indictment on Pakuranga that voters keep re-electing her

    On the plus side Gyles Beckford ripped Bridges a new one in that interview

  8. When a political party like National MUST resort to regular lying then it shows there is something seriously wrong with them.
    I wouldn’t trust National ever again. Their amazing ability to lie, to twist everything shows them up as being a political party that is on the road to ruin if they continue to behave in such a manner.
    The NZ National Party truly needs a name change to the Bullshit and Lies Party. Most of its current batch of MPs don’t know what is the truth and prefer to spread bullshit and lies because it suits them. What a feeble lot they have become.

  9. Cynics will parrot the old line about politicians lying whenever their mouths are moving, and partisans will claim it’s the other side that lie most often. But it would be interesting to keep a carefully referenced public tally of how many times each MP makes a public statement that fails a fact-check, and how many times they’ve admitted their mistake and apologized vs. digging in their toes and trying to wiggle out of admitting they were wrong (or lying).

    • I don’t think anyone here is under any illusions in regards to politicians predilection toward playing fast and loose with the truth, and Labour is by no means as pure as the driven snow. However, a cursory examination of National’s recent history shows a pattern of behaviour that is less than honourable and it appears to have become increasingly entrenched. You’d think after the ‘Hollow Men’ and ‘Dirty Politics’ revelations they’d be a little more circumspect, but apparently not. Either they’re slow learners or they don’t much care just so long as they win. There’s a list of lies told by John Key during his time in office freely available on the internet (Google is your friend, or DuckDuckGo if you’re concerned about Google stealing your data), and it makes for jaw-dropping reading. The man has nothing on Trump of course, but still… the brazen dishonesty is fairly repugnant. If you bank with ANZ, you might want to reconsider your life choices.

  10. I really do try not to cuss on this site – I think it’s a sign of ignorance, but when it comes to Collins, she’s full of it. ‘It’ being the kind of thing you scrape off your shoe after treading in it on the footpath.
    I don’t make that comment lightly either.
    I remember very well her being interviewed on the TV news some years ago and making the comment that “I don’t voice my own personal views on matters”.
    The very next day she’s on the TV again, spouting off her ‘own personal views’ on a certain subject.
    Two-faced, hypocritical, dangerous lying woman.
    In any case, how is it that she is back in Parliament?
    She was kicked out sometime ago over the Oravida scandal if my memory serves me correctly (and it may not, so feel free to correct me).
    In any case, out the door she was booted – only to slink back in through the side door un-noticed sometime later.
    HOW?
    Out should mean out – permanently

    • National don’t have much in the way of standards, and they’re more concerned about having sufficient bums on seats than they are about the moral character (or lack thereof) of their MPs. If it agreed to toe the party line, they’d probably put a fresh turd up for selection. “Vote Poo! Because it couldn’t be more apparent that we don’t give a shit!”

      • I like your sense of humor(!) and you’re dead right. No morals in the blue camp whatsoever. You can lie, cheat, obfuscate and mislead and you’re still a pillar of that dirty little crew. In fact I think those are necessary prerequisites to join the gang.

  11. Frank I wish you wrong. I hope bridges is still leader of the natz. The really nice thing about that is there are no credible cchallengers. I wish them well.

Comments are closed.