Hoax Collins resignation

Duncan Garner at Radio Live has posted what appears to be a hoax resignation letter from Judith Collins. Colins has tweeted:

Screen shots:

Collins resignation hoax


Collins hoax resignation letter

 RadioLive has now updated the headline: Judith Collins resignation, written by Duncan Garner

Collins resignation hoax new headline

 Very poorly done by Garner and by RadioLive.

It’s called satire, Judith. Not dirt.

Very borderline.

Reactions on Green abortion policy

David Cunliffe’s not commenting on the Greens’ abortion policy, leaving it to Labour members. Judith Collins says current system works well.

Not surprising to see Cunliffe avoiding committing to anything on it.

The current system may “work well” but it’s a shameful sham. I doubt National as a party would support this, and if dealt with as a conscience issue there may be only minority support.

During last  yr’s leadership race, said abortion law needs urgent review, should go to Law Comm. Does he still think that?

Here’s a reference to that from Young Labour.

Do you believe that abortion should be decriminalised?

Cunliffe:  I want to see a woman’s right to choose protected.  The current law hasn’t been reviewed for many years and I think that is now urgent.  The Law Commission would be best placed to undertake this review as it is a conscience issue which splits across parties.

Robertson:  All women should have the right to control and determine their own reproductive health.  That is an absolute non negotiable.  In my mind, our current abortion laws fall outside this principle and need to be reformed.


Joyce wrong on Collins poll

On Q&A yesterday Steven Joyce made a questionable claim in relation to a Colmar poll about the possible influence of Judith Collins on voting intentions.

Politicians are frequently poor interpreters of poll results. Many journalists are poor at reporting polls too, due to ignorance or due to the pressures of making an interesting or headline grabbing story out of a few numbers. Politicians may also be ignorant of poll interpretation, or they may be deliberately misrepresenting polls to try and score political points.

Joyce is usually very well informed about issues he has prepared for. He may have been taking advantage of interviewer and public ignorance of polls, unless he just got it wrong.

The Q&A Colmar questions and results were:

Do you personally think Judith Collins should remain a minister?

  • Yes 42%
  • No 42%
  • Don’t know 17%

Do you think her behaviour has been damaging to National’s level of public support, or do you think it will make no difference?

  • Yes, it has been damaging 50%
  • No it won’t make a difference 42%
  • Don’t know 9%

On balance, how well do you think Prime Minister John Key has handled issues with Judith Collins and Maurice Williamson? Would you say…

  • Well 46% (very well 11%, quite well 35%)
  • Not well 42% (not that well 29%, not at all well 18%)
  • Don’t know 11%

Which of these statements best describes how these issues will influence your vote in the upcoming election?

  • These issues will be a factor in your decision 23%
  • These issues will not have much influence 75%

(Sample size 500 eligible voters. The maximum sampling error is approximately ±4.4%-points at the 95% confidence level.)

Discussing the poll on Q&A Joyce said:

It’s the Labour-Greens voters that say, ironically, it would change their vote. I’m not sure where they would change them to.

Colmar pollster Andrew Robertson has commented on this.

Mr Joyce had clearly seen the report because he cited results that were in the body of it – results that had not yet been discussed by the Q+A panel.

Unfortunately, Mr Joyce either misread or misunderstood the results.

The question did not ask eligible voters if they’d change their vote. It asked whether these issues would be a factor in their voting decision. That’s a very different question. One is fairly blunt, and would need to be understood in the context what party people have changed their vote from and to. The other allows people to consider how important these issues are in relation to others.

When asked if these issues would be a factor in their own voting decision, most say the issues won’t have much influence.

Note that the question did not ask people if they would change their vote, it asked whether these issues would be one of the issues they would consider in their decision. There are many other issues, of course, such as education, jobs, housing, child poverty, crime, and the list goes on.

So Joyce was wrong. The poll didn’t ask anything about changing vote. And even if it caused a Labour voter to switch their party vote it could be to Greens, NZ First, Mana, Internet Party.

Or it could make it more likely they will vote, or more likely they won’t vote. These possibilities can all affect the outcome of an election.

The detailed report shows a breakdown of National and Labour & Green supporters.

Colmar Collins poll

In an election where a 2-3% swing could easily decide the outcome 23% of eligible voters is a significant number.

Even 8% of National Party supporters is notable. Analysis of the last election has shown that a significant number of potential National voters decided not to vote, which is a possible explanation for the drop-off in support for them from pre-election polls compared to the election itself.

If an issue like Collins/Oravida caused some national leaning voters to not vote or to switch to NZ First or Labour, and it encouraged more people to get out and vote, for Labour or Green or Mana or Internet Party or NZ First, it could have a major effect on the outcome.

What polling can’t do know is measure how much of an influence the Collins/Oravida issue will have in four months time.

The economy is expected to be a major decider, and associated with this jobs and perceptions of poverty.

Leaders’ personalities can also influence voters, and many people take little notice of politics until the campaign proper begins – this will be in August.

And the last election showed that a late and seemingly trivial issue can have a major effect. The Key/Banks cup of tea reshuffled a lot of tea leaves.

Colins/Oravida will have had some effect on an accumulation of voter perceptions but it’s impossible to tell whether it would decide the election.

It should be noted that there may be more yet to happen with Collins. She has obviously been under pressure and has acted irrationally. She could yet cause more problems for National, even to the extent of resigning.

Steven Joyce may have been trying to deflect from this.

For more details and discussions on this:

Grant Robertson’s ‘same milk’ accusation refuted

Grant Robertson has claimed that “same milk”, “milk from the same supplier” and “the same two litre bottles” was given different Chinese border control treatment, with Oravida milk accepted while Ruima Food milk was rejected.

Corrie Den Haring, general manager of Green Valley Dairies who supplies the milk to both the companies, says the milk products involved were not the same, and he is “not aware of any favouritism”.

Robertson continued his ‘holding to account’ of Judith Collins yesterday on Oravida. Most of the media focus was on the drama and the pressure on Collins, for example Judith Collins survives torrid session in Parliament and Collins survives bruising barrage.

Much less emphasis is being put on holding Grant Robertson to account for his accusations. Before Question Time he put out a media release:

Same milk, different friends, different result
Grant Robertson | 6 May 2014

There is further evidence Judith Collins’ assistance of Oravida resulted in her husband’s company getting its milk into China, Labour MP Grant Robertson says.

“Documents show that Oravida had its milk shipment accepted by Chinese border control in December, while milk from the same supplier exported by a different company was rejected.

“Oravida’s fresh milk supplier Green Valley Dairies also supplies the same two litre bottles to Guangzhou Ruima Food Limited, simply with a different label.

“However, Guangzhou Ruima Food’s fresh milk shipment in December was rejected by China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

“Judith Collins’ intervention was designed to benefit Oravida.

“Evidence is building of a correlation between the Minister’s October dinner with a Chinese border control official in Beijing and later visit to Oravida’s Shanghai office, and her husband’s company’s export issues disappearing.”

However tagged on to the end of a Herald article Embattled Collins digs in for long haul which also pushes the pressure on Collins is this:

Meanwhile, Corrie Den Haring, general manager of Green Valley Dairies which supplies milk to both Oravida and Ruimi, said Mr Robertson’s initial attack about Oravida receiving preferential treatment from Chinese authorities was wide of the mark.

“It is not the same two-litre bottles simply with a different label,” he told National Radio. Ruimi’s milk was a flavoured or extra-calcium product which required extra testing at the border. Delays meant the milk was too old for sale and was destroyed.

I had to search Radio NZ to find this, it isn’t currently featured on their Political News page.

Dairy company refutes Labour’s claims ( 3′ 18″ )

Labour is claiming it has further evidence that Judith Collins’s help for Oravida resulted in it getting its milk into China, while other companies missed out.

From Checkpoint on 06 May 2014


Mary Wilson: Green Valley’s general manager Corrie Den Haring refutes what Labour says.

Corrie Den Haring: It is not the same two litre bottles just simply with a different label. First of all Ruimi Food’s was taking what’s called enriched milk. They were taking flavoured milk, particularly strawberry and chocolate milks as well as standard white milk in various bottled formats.

Oravida at that stage were simply taking two litre milk with their label on it.

Some products going to Ruimi Foods in Guangzhou were blocked, and that was through extra testing that was done, namely the strawberryv chocolate and calcium milks that actually took longer than the shelf life of the product.

Mary Wilson: The milk shipment that was rejected was rejected because the testing process took so long that milk was off by the time it got through the process.

Corrie Den Haring: That’s correct, so that the shelf life of the milk only effectively has ten days once it’s in China. Some of these testing took I think up to eight days and if any product has less than I think thirty percent or fifty percent of it’s available shelf life then it’s rejected at border, and that is recorded by the Chinese border inspectorate as being a failure.

Mary Wilson: Why wasn’t Oravida’s milk then subject to the same testing over the same time frame?

Corrie Den Haring: Because they were testing for different, partly for different issues, so in and around the flavoured milks there was a question mark around some of the flavourings and some of the potential colourings, whether they actually met a fresh milk specification, and also in the calcium they were checking the levels of calcium within the milk which obviously take a lot longer time period than the standard testing being carried out.

Mary Wilson: But some of that testing surely should have applied to Oravida’s milk?

Corrie Den Haring: They weren’t taking any of the flavoured milks or any of the calcium milks, they were taking the standard fresh milk which simply have a micro-biological testing programme attached to them.

Mary Wilson: So you’re saying this is merely a technical issue, it has got nothing to do with favouritism?

Corrie Den Haring:I’m not aware of any favouritism and I don’t see any evidence from the position that Green Valley has in supplying product that the same level of orders were coming through, the same demand was coming through.

The same level of, one could argue,  frustration in and around some of the testing regimes that were being implemented at that stage, and we saw no difference between the two businesses.

The fact that Ruimi Food had some product rejected was for other reasons other than favouritism that we can see from this end.

Grant Robertson has been asked if he has any evidence contrary to this.


Sad face of politics

One of the things I like least about politics is seeing politicians humiliated and having to deal with it in a very public glare, regardless of the reasons for their fall. It’s a sad face of politics.

Associated with this is a distaste for the glee and smugness of opponents, journalists and people in social media at the misfortunes and embarrassment.

We’re getting a double does of all this at the moment with Judith Collins and Maurice Williamson. Both are largely responsible for their situations, but I wonder how much of that is due to missteps and how much is misfortune. Most politicians would struggle to maintain perfect records and most would  have difficulty dealing with the degree of scrutiny they receive.

Holding to account by opposition politicians is an important part of democracy. The degree to which some politicians and their staff go to destroy careers regardless of the relative seriousness of circumstances is not pretty. Winston Peters has a long history of dishing out dirt and rubbing it in, or trying to.

In Collins’ case an otherwise decent looking man, Grant Robertson, seems to be revelling in the ritual burning of a witch as the culmination of what at times looks more witch hunt than holding to account. I wonder how he feels when he reflects on the carnage. If he reflects.

Many people in social media, especially those who are anonymous/pseudonymous, enjoy putting the boot in. Abusing, discrediting, lying seem to be the main online occupation of some. So it’s not surprising to see applause, derision and ongoing hostility when a victim succumbs to the pressures of their job.

(For the record I have not liked the bloodsport part of politics no matter what party or leaning the political victims belonged and I have spoken against the excesses for years.)

Journalists are major players in the holding to account. When they smell political blood they can be relentless, merciless. I guess they have to be.

Some of them seem to really enjoy it when they claim a victim. To some it seems to be just business as usual. But it can be surprising and disconcerting to see some of the gloating.

One image that stood out for me last night was on 3 News last night when Patrick Gower was discussing Collins and Williamson with Hilary Barry.

Gower has a record of being a media hound with fangs. His self congratulatory look of satisfaction is normal. It was very ironic of Gower to blog:

Collins’ gutter politics a liability for Key

Judith Collins is engaging in gutter politics and John Key has let her off with a slap on the wrist with a wet Oravida donation receipt.

Gower in Parliament

While Collins was totally out of order with her attack on Katie Bradford gutter journalism jumped out at me from that comment. Collins overstepped once, journalists often test the limits of the footpath they tread on.

What stood out though was Barry, who normally anchors 3 News with decency and usually looks reasonable and nice, rubbing her hands together and appearing to celebrate the political discomfort with glee.

Gower and BarryJudith Collins says apology was ‘genuine’

Barry seemed very happy with the story they were able to tell. To me it was a very sad face of politics.

Extradition requests made and refused

How many extradition requests are made to New Zealand and how many requests are refused by the Minister of Justice?

Due to the questions and speculation surrounding the current US extradition request for Kim Dotcom I asked the Minister of Justice how many extradition requests are made to New Zealand and how often the Minister of Justice refuses requests to extradite people after being found found eligible for surrender by the court.

How many extradition requests are made to New Zealand from foreign countries?

Statistics for the last three years show that New Zealand has received 22 requests for extradition. Of this number, 7 individuals have been extradited from New Zealand.

The remainder includes individuals currently contesting their extradition through the courts and situations where the individual has left New Zealand or the extradition request did not meet the requirements of the Extradition Act 1999.

Kim Dotcom (and his associates Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk) will be included in the number contesting their extradition.

How many people has the Minister of Justice refused to extradite after the court has found them eligible for surrender?

During the last three years the Minister of Justice has not refused to extradite anyone whom the court has found eligible to surrender.

Judith Collins explains the process.

For requests from most countries, once the court has determined an individual is eligible for surrender, the matter is referred to me, as Minister of Justice, for the final decision on the surrender. As Minister I decide whether to issue a surrender order, taking into account humanitarian considerations and other factors contained in the Extradition Act.

However a different extradition process applies for requests from Australia and the United Kingdom. In those cases the court is able to make the final decision on surrender and the Minister of Justice is only involved if the court refers the case to the Minister under section 48 of the Extradition Act, which happens rarely.

To date I have not made any decisions under this part of the Act.

Source:  Office of Hon Judith Collins, Minister of Justice

This only covers the past three years but it shows there are not usually many extradition requests, there are only a few surrenders, and refusals by the Minister of Justice are uncommon.

Most extradition requests get little or no publicity.

Other references:

Extradition of Kim Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk:

The importance of transparency

The Judith Collins and David Cunliffe issues over the last two weeks highlight the importance of transparency in politics. A lack of transparency has proven to be highly embarrassing – and career threatening – for both Collins and Cunliffe.

Collins failed to reveal having a dinner and a lunch with people connected to Oravida, a business run by a personal friend ,and her husband is a director of the company.  She didn’t mention them in her cabinet report of the trip and she didn’t tell the Prime Minister about the meal engagements until Tuesday.

As is common it’s not what Collins originally did that has caused the most trouble, it’s the arrogant and inadequate way Collins dealt with the story as it came out that is deemed serious enough by some that she should resign. Journalists and Prime Ministers have a strong dislike of information being withheld from them.

Collins claimed the dinner was a private occasion, but a Minister travelling overseas on Government business is representing the country at all times.

The solution is simple – full transparency. Ministers should include all engagements in their reports, nothing can be claimed as totally private. And they should detail any potential conflicts of interest. They’d be wise to do likewise in New Zealand for any engagements where they could be seen to be potentially acting as a minister.

Collins said on Campbell Live last night she would now be very wary and would include everything in her reports.

Cunliffe had a “week from hell” largely due to not being open and fully honest about the use of two trusts. Both Cunliffe and Collins have been stung by “dishonesty by omission”, they didn’t reveal important information up front.

Cunliffe was late filing advice to the register of pecuniary interests about an investment trust (as did other MPs, seemingly prompted by the revelation David Shearer had an undeclared US bank account). The default position for any MP should be to disclose anything that could possibly be seen as a pecuniary interest.

And Cunliffe hadn’t revealed that he had run a secret donations trust when he ran for the Labour leadership. He said it complied with rules, but it failed a hypocrisy test. If it had been known during the leadership contest it may have affected support for Cunliffe, but he should have either been open about using a trust or not used the secrecy of a trust.

Politicians are wary of revealing things in case information is used against them by opponents. But if opponents discover information that had been secret or not divulged the risks are greater. And the risk escalates if MPs deliberately try to keep things secret when they are asked about them.

Both Collins and Cunliffe should have learnt harsh lessons and their careers have been put on notice.

The importance of transparency should be very apparent to them now, and to all MPs. There may be justification for keeping some things secret but that should be in special circumstances only, and certainly not when trusts and businesses of friends are involved.

Disclosing things up front is far less risky than being found out. Transparency should be a top priority for MPs.


Herald claim about Judith Collins disputed

Both Cameron Slater and Judith Collins have disputed a claim made in the herald on Sunday in In bed with the bloggers:

The bloggers’ politics are fully disclosed. Bradbury has described Justice Minister Judith Collins as having “the bedside manner of a brain-hungry zombie on meth” and Key as a “cult of no personality”. As for Slater’s attacks on Labour and Green MPs – they just don’t bear repeating in a family-friendly paper.

They are rewarded for their loyalty with access at the highest level. The Prime Minister acknowledges phoning Slater regularly (“I speak to lots of blogsters,” he said last week, somewhat defensively) and Collins calls him a friend.

Indeed, when approached for comment for this article, she first called Slater to check whether she should return the Herald on Sunday’s call.

That sounded odd when I first read it.

Whale Oil in Nice try Jono, but you got some things dreadfully wrong [UPDATED]:

Milne also made up another bit…

They are rewarded for their loyalty with access at the highest level. The Prime Minister acknowledges phoning Slater regularly (“I speak to lots of blogsters,” he said last week, somewhat defensively) and Collins calls him a friend. Indeed, when approached for comment for this article, she first called Slater to check whether she should return the Herald on Sunday‘s call.

Judith Collins does not ask me for permission for ANYTHING, and she certainly didn’t do so in this case. Where Milne got that from is beyond me. I jibed at him on Thursday evening after the blog awards that he’d been phoning people but that is it. He really does his reputation no good at all by manufacturing claims.

Judith Collins tweeted:

Why can’t @HeraldonSunday tell the truth? When @JonoMilne wrote that I had checked with @Whaleoil if I could talk about him,that was Fiction.

Trained journalists need to tell the truth, not make up stories to suit the angle they want. Shame on @HeraldonSunday.

Let’s see if they’re professional enough to apologise.

UPDATE: Collins reports an apology:

Good that @JonoMilne from @HeraldonSunday just phoned me to apologise and has confirmed he will correct the record. That’s professional.

NZ Herald has now deleted the offending paragraph from In bed with the bloggers. Kudos to Jonathan Milne for promptly and professionally dealing with that.

Judith Collins versus Campbell Live

Last night Campbell Live had a soft interview with Metiria Turei, where Turei showed off her “castle” after claiming that MPs homes were off limits in politics just a few days ago. Her house has also featured in the ODT and NZ Herald.

Inside Metiria Turei’s castle

Last week, among the productive things to happen in politics, was a scrap between Metiria Turei, Anne Tolley and Judith Collins over a $2,000 Adrienna Winklemann designer jacket.

Ms Collins called the Greens co-leader a “sensitive wee sausage” and Ms Tolley called her a “hypocrite”, which led Ms Turei to call their attacks “racism”.

Ms Collins declined Campbell Live’s invitation to discuss the points at stake, however tonight Ms Turei joined John from her two bedroom castle in Dunedin.

Campbell Live actually only showed the castle from the outside.

John Campbell also said that neither Anne Tolley nor Judith Collins would appear on his show. This lead to a dispute on Twitter.

Patrick Gower took a swipe:

Metiria Turei clear winner of Battle of the Blazers. Anne Tolley and Judith Collins ended up getting owned.

Owned by who? TV3? Campbell Live has form in ridiculing politicians who won’t agree to appear on their show – for example ambush ‘interviews’ of Winston Peters and John Palino last year.

Collins then tweeted her displeasure:

Really disappointed again in John Campbell. Probably Time for a complaint given the false information aired tonight.

His office (Kate McCallum) phoned & asked me to open my closet 2 Campbell Live. I said No. He said I refused 2 debate the issues.

I would think opening your wardrobe implies an interview, just saying.

3RachelNZ3 There’s a difference between debating something you’ve said and opening your closet to be criticised

3RachelNZ3 @JetVapour hardly. It suggests a particularly stupid stunt.

Tsk tsk. Who do you think you are? @JudithCollinsMP or some important person? Remember when John Campbell becons you must obey.

He did say he’d like you on the show tomorrow. Maybe you could go on and make a point?

Why would I after that behaviour?
Maybe he should apologise for not telling the truth

Helen Clark and I agree on one thing. She was dead right about John Campbell.

Clark referred to Campbell as “a little creep” after an ambush interview on Corngate in 2002.

sensitive wee sausage aren’t you

Not at all. Just expect people to be truthful.

 And Aaron asking someone to open up their wardrobe is creepy

Yes, that is weird

Keeping Stock@Inventory2
What was he misrepresenting tonight?

The facts.

Wait. I don’t own a TV. Did @JohnJCampbell really ask @JudithCollinsMP to show him her wardrobe and get pissy when she refused?

YES. It is very strange.

Campbell Live then joined in.

Wait. I don’t own a TV. Did @JohnJCampbell really ask @JudithCollinsMP to show him her wardrobe and get pissy when she refused?

Not at all. We invited the Minister on the programme tonight. She declined.

Untrue. You asked to be shown my wardrobe not to discuss issues.

And presumably another Campbell Live staffer to Collins:

Perhaps instead of debating the issue on twitter you could spend the time in our studio tomorrow night?

Pip, rather than untruths, perhaps your show could confess that your request was to be shown through my wardrobe

The initial request yes. Emma Kelly said you were on a flight at 6.30pm. We then requested a studio interview. Told no.

It may be that both sides are right – that the initial request was about revealing Collins’ wardrobe which Collins refused, then the follow up request was to Collins’ staff while she was flying so she wouldn’t have heard it.

It does seem bizarre that the original intent of Campbell Live seems to have been to compare the wardrobes of Turei and Collins.

No indication whether Collins will appear on Campbell Live tonight. And if she doesn’t appear, will John Campbell cover the topic anyway?

Judith Collins doesn’t help Tolley

Judith Collins has chosen to escalate criticism of Metiria Turei’s clothes. This is as bad as Turei at diverting from the actual issue.


Judith Collins says Metiria Turei is a ‘sensitive sausage’ and her clothes are ugly in response to Turei’s racism claim

Collins also says Metiria’s jackets are “ugly” and someone needs to tell her that

It looks petty.

Update: Stuff reports on this in Collins jumps in ‘racist’ clothes-fight:

  Today Collins dismissed the claims, saying if anything the comments were “clothes-ist” and that Tolley was giving Turei some much-needed advice.

“It would be hard to bully Metiria Turei,” Collins said on the way into National’s all day caucus at Premier House.
“Oh my goodness, isn’t she a sensitive wee sausage?”

Collins denied there was bullying or racism behind the claims.

“I think, actually, Metiria Turei needs to – don’t be so silly,” she said.

“They [the comments] may be ‘clothes-ist’ and Anne Tolley may have been giving her some very good advice about being a hypocrite, that we believe she is.

“If she’s going to stand there and talk about child poverty and how the National Party is out of touch with poverty when she is the one who spends a tremendous amount on clothes and talks to us about child poverty. I think she’s a hypocrite.”   


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