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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Judith Collins: stress leave

Judith Collins has been given enough rope to hang herself - that is what I figured the PM's strategy was a fortnight ago.  Key hasn't been covering her so much as distancing himself by his comments.  This has been confirmed by him humiliating her with having to take stress leave (which painted Nick Smith out as mad and from which he never recovered) whilst insisting that she subject herself to the barrage of interrogation that Labour and NZ First will inflict on her at parliamentary question time - the most stressful possible thing that could be devised.

So why put her through it?  Because Key and the other top Nats want to see Collins go down, she has become a liability sinking further into the red every day.  They want her to perform so poorly in the House that they can dump her for presentation issues, saving them from addressing the corruption at the heart of the Oravida scandal.  

Banning her from twitter, as the PM has just done, is far too late for the damage she has done to herself, all it means is she is deprived of a medium to attack when she is cut.  The PM's Chief of Staff has a difficult task ahead.

Key's chief of staff Wayne Eagleson called in Collins' staff yesterday morning to clarify details about the leadup to Collins' visit to Oravida's Chinese offices.
Collins' husband David Wong-Tung is a director of the company that imports New Zealand dairy and other products into China, and she has insisted a dinner with its executives was private. However, her office asked for a briefing from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) - not usual for an unofficial meeting. Collins says her staff made the request in error.
It is understood Eagleson summoned Collins' staff to his office to get to the bottom of who asked for the briefing.
However, Key's office denied this and downplayed Eagleson's intervention, saying he regularly met staff.

Collins position is untenable.  She is an absolute brat, but her behaviour cannot be dismissed as trivial or as a case of he says-she says bravado given the avalanche of evidence already released.

UPDATE: q time 2pm
Collins starts by reading out a statement of clarification about her bullshit answer (to a q that I had posed in my last blog on the issue) about what briefing was given to the Ambassador after the dinner.  At the time in parliament she said she didn't remember.  There were jeers of disbelief at that.   Then she later that day contacted a Herald(?) reporter and said she recalled a later briefing, then she contacted another and said there was also a briefing before.  This was Collins being flippant and dumb rather than being a liar I think to be generous (I mean her arrogance and disdain is such that she couldn't be bothered thinking about it and her failure to recall is actually a refusal to recall), but either way it is hugely incompetent to have not answered it.  This is Collins all over though - careless (and petulant, vindictive etc.)

Robertson asking her if she requested Oravida visit rather than attend a legal forum that was scheduled.  She says this was an early draft itinerary.

Not sure Robertson's batch of q's were that damaging, still a bad look but no King hit yet. It is Chinese water torture.

Questions not asked though is:
Did Collins demand Ambassador Worker and his wife attend the Oravida dinner? Did an Oravida director ask the Minister to put the Ambassador on the invite list to that dinner?
Why did the Ambassador not attend that dinner - what reasons were given?
Why did the minister give a briefing to the Ambassador if it was a private dinner? What other private dinners has the minister attended overseas and then given briefings to the NZ ambassador afterwards?

2:48pm Winston now asking q's. not as effective as Robertson.

4:30pm Reflecting on Robertson's q's - very good. His speech on Maurice Williamson resignation debate was also very effective: Comparison of Collins is devastating as is cumulative effect of the evasions and the revelations. He says it is now three events for Oravida on her trip. No King hit because she seemed to refute that she had personally changed itinerary to visit Oravida, she said it came from her office. I take it all this information, the details of who wanted what is redacted from the released material so we can't find that out. I don't think she has been quite caught in a sackable lie yet because each time she comes back from it with a correction claiming some memory lapse or whatever and the PM keeps accepting it, but at some point the PM will tire, the contradiction will stand and she will fall.

Maybe a more direct question needs to be put again, because who else would have put that on her own trip's agenda when it was supposed to be about the Justice ministry... but herself? Her office didn't put any other exporters on the trip did they - it's all Oravida and it is all from her. Is she going to have to make another personal explanation?

Q. is the PM/Minister satisfied that the recent approval of Oravida's NZ milk products across the Chinese border were a result of an understanding reached at a dinner between Hon Judith Collins, Oravida directors and a high-ranking Chinese border official? Was the Chinese border official at that dinner the same official that recently approved Oravida's NZ milk products for clearance into China?

Q. who owns Oravida?


At 6/5/14 7:10 pm, Blogger robertguyton said...

"Was the Chinese border official at that dinner the same official that recently approved Oravida's NZ milk products for clearance into China?"

That's the one and doubtless the reason why his identity is being hidden so completely.


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