Judith Collins, Justice Minister, is playing dumb in parliament at question time and avoiding media. Her patronising responses, or non-responses, to allegations of corrupt influence is not becoming of a Cabinet Minister. Her abuse of the House by criticising questions as too long and then asking for them to be stated again for her amusement is out of order. If she is too thick to comprehend the question, that is one thing, but to keep breaking up the questioning with this tactic just makes her look guilty as all fuck. That flippancy is just as a bad look as her hysterical denial reaction - none of them convince anyone. It is as if the nervous ranks of silent Nats behind her, and her senior colleagues beside, had detached themselves from whowever this woman was. Completely off the Estate.
Herself and her husband and their mutual friends and shareholders in the Oravida company are involved in nothing more or less than crony capitalism at it's most glorious apex: the Chinese call it 'Scientific socialism with Chinese characteristics', the New Zealanders call it 'The China Free Trade Agreement'. Kiwi meets Dragon. It's the Chinese way, now it is the New Zealand way. (Dragon win, obviously. The Chinese nationals own and run Oravida, it is only nominally a NZ company, being registered here under a sequence of lawyer's trusts to disguise the origin.) So when Tim Grosser as Trade Minister and John Key as the PM support Oravida as they have done, they are supporting a Chinese-owned company that is in a now quite open, exposed, relationship of deep personal and financial interest with their other Cabinet chum, Judith Collins.
This is untenable for the Justice Minister. It may be ridgy-didge in the PRC, but you are not in Beijing now, Minister - it's parliament and people want answers. The impression is: this is how we do it in China and its all OK because, you know, it happened in Shanghai and the Cabinet Manual and the responsibilities of executive office only apply on a trip when I say it does and I can decide what is and isn't what sort of business, public or private, state or personal. This is Collin's position when she knows full well it is all in Key's domain.
Collins stated - as I recall - that the dinner with the border official and the Oravida boss was originally scheduled to include the NZ Ambassador plus an official, but the Ambassador pulled out and so she went ahead with the dinner anyway as a private dinner.
Q. Why did the Ambassador pull out, and why did the other official not attend, what reason was given?
Q. What did the Ambassador advise about continuing with this dinner, and in respect to its status as official or private?
Q. What agenda, points or issues were going to be raised at this official dinner and what notes or reports were going to be made afterwards?
Q. Since this was an official dinner at which point did it become a private dinner, and was the Border official informed of this change in status?
Q. Who was Collins relying on for translation of the Border official's comments?
Q. What undertakings or understandings were reached between Collins and the border official and the Oravida boss at that dinner or in a consequence of that dinner?
Q. Was Collins introduced at that dinner as a NZ government Minister?
UPDATE: Video from parliamentary question time shows Grant Robertson getting into these points, with a separate supplementary for the last one. She said she couldn't remember if she discussed it later with the Ambassador.
Talk about Chinese walls! Collins is doing a long march on the Great Wall of all Chinese walls over this Oravida scandal and she can't go the distance. The PM is going to have to shut this little princess down before her Oravida taint spoils the whole batch. They had to cut Pansy Wong for less. Some say she must have something on Key to keep him from chopping her, but it is the unwillingness to sacrifice because it may show disunity and acknowledge corruption which stops a sacking, I don't think anyone possess anything nuclear here. So, how long has Collins got realistically?