The slow disintegration of a government; 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5…
Where does one start…?
¶ Growing numbers of injuries and fatalities in various industries, caused by health and safety de-regulation in the early 1990s, by a previous National government?
¶ National passing legislation last year, increasing the powers of the surveillance state by enabling legislation for the GCSB to spy on all New Zealanders?
¶ Permitting dangerous drilling practices in our deep coastal waters?
¶ Hekia Parata on education?
¶ The gutting and collapse of Solid Energy?
¶ John Banks/Kim Dotcom/SkyCity/dodgy donations?
¶ Peter Dunne’s unmitigated mess over “legal highs”?
¶ Maurice Williamson’s attempt to influence/query a police investigation surrounding a wealthy immigrant?
¶ National’s unhealthy relationship with immigrants; big business; and corporate donors-for-favours?
¶ Corporate cronyism for aluminium smelters, film companies, et al?
¶ Judith Collins’ lies over her dinner at Oravida and a mysterious, un-named Chinese official?
Let’s start with the last, and most recent; Judith Collins.
It appears that there are three serious grounds for which John Key has no choice but to dismiss Collins from her ministerial rolls;
On 5 March, Collins stated that she went to the Oravida offices;
“To actually have a cup of tea on the way to the airport“.
On 18 March, Collins repeated this statement in Parliament;
“I was being driven around and I was assured by the ambassador that we could pop into Oravida on the way to the airport, or else I could have gone to the airport and I could have sat in the lounge for an extra long time.”
But this excuse was shown to be demonstrably false when then Labour’s Grant Robertson revealed in Parliament;
“Is she aware that Oravida’s headquarters are 30km in the opposite direction from where her hotel and business meetings were held and not on the way to Pudong airport at all?”
The meeting at Oravida – a company where Judith Collins’s husband is a Director – and the subsequent dinner with a Chinese official, was not a “business meeting” said Judith Collins.
But more critical, as revealed on Polity, is an email dated 23 October 2013, which clearly refers to Collins’ meeting at Oravida;
Purpose / objective
To increase the profile of a successful importer and distributor of New Zealand products into China
The email is reproduced here in it’s entirety (courtesy from Polity);
That email clinches Collins’ guilt. It is the “smoking gun” that proves Collins’ intent for visiting her husband’s business. The words are there in black and white; To increase the profile of a successful importer and distributor of New Zealand products into China.
This was the same breach of Cabinet rules that caused National Cabinet Minister, Pansy Wong, to resign,
Mrs Wong resigned as a Cabinet minister last month after it was revealed her husband Sammy could have conducted private business while on a taxpayer-subsidised overseas trip.
Rules around the perk which pays up to 90 per cent of MPs’ and their spouses international travel, prohibit any private business activities during trips funded by it.
A Parliamentary Services inquiry ordered by Speaker Lockwood Smith cleared Mrs Wong and her husband of any serious misuse of taxpayer-funded travel perks.
The report by former public servant Hugh McPhail found the Wongs breached rules on use of the perk just once by conducting private business during a trip to China in 2008.
The case against Judith Collins is clear-cut;
1. She lied.
2. She refuses to take responsibility.
3. It is clear that her trip to Oravida’s offices and factory were indeed business-related.
Her position as Minister is no longer tenable. She must go.
This is the woman who recently took joy at exhibiting an “Iron Lady” affectation by making personal attacks on a fellow Parliamentarian;
Dear Leader John Key has given Collins “time out”, lamely explaining,
“She’ll be back by the Budget but I think she should take four or five days. We work in a stressful environment. There’s no question that Judith made some inappropriate comments and over-reached…”
To which, I reply quoting Ms Collins herself, when she attacked Metiria Turei;
“…Oh my goodness isn’t she a sensitive little sausage.”
Karma. In spades.
Judith Collin’s vindictive attack on journalist Katie Bradford (for which Collins has since apologised) is not the first instance of critics of this government coming under attack by either politicians, or those connected with the government;
Natasha Fuller & Jennifer Johnston, solo-mothers
Personal WINZ details released to the media by Social Welfare Minister, Paula Bennett, to discredit both women after they criticised National for canning the Training Incentive Allowance (which Bennett herself used to pay her way through University).
Jon Stephenson, journalist
John Key derides Stephenson’s research into NZ activities in Afghanistan: “I’ve got no reason for NZDF to be lying, and I’ve found [Stephenson] myself personally not to be credible.”
Nicky Hager, writer, researcher
John Key dismisses Hager’s book, on CIA involvement in NZ military activities in Afghanistan: “I don’t have time to read fiction,” quipped the Prime Minister, adding that the book contained “no smoking gun”, just supposition, which, “makes it business as normal for Nicky Hager”. (Despite the book having 1300 footnotes to referencing documentation.)
Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury, broadcaster, blogger
Criticised John Key on Radio NZ. Subsequently banned/ “uninvited” from returning to Radio NZ as a panellist for the Afternoons with Jim Mora segment.
Robyn Malcolm, actor
Criticises the John Key led National government for it’s failures at a Green Party campaign launch, and is, in turn, vilified by the ‘NZ Herald’, and by one-time National Party aspiring-candidate, Cameron Brewer.
Bradley Ambrose, journalist/photographer
Investigated by police after complaint laid by the Prime Minister, over the “Teapot Tape” affair. Ambrose investigated and interviewed by Police. Media office raided. Property seized. Eventually, no charges laid. Government considered seeking costs of $13,669.45 from Ambrose – but eventually decided not to.
ACC Claimant, Bronwyn’s Pullar’s personal details are leaked to the media and to a right wing blogger, who has been given her full files, emails, etc. ACC Minister, Judith Collins, and her office are implicated.
Dr Mike Joy, environmentalist, scientist, academic. Attacked by both John Key and right wing “media relations/publicist”, Mark Unsworth, for daring to tell the public the truth about New Zealand’s polluted waterways. On 21 November, Unsworth sent a vicious email to Dr Joy that showed the state of mind of Unsworth to be bordering on unhinged.
Annette Sykes, lawyer, activist, President of Mana Party
When Annette Sykes criticised the appointment of sportswoman Susan Devoy to the role of Race Relations Commissioner, Minister Judith Collins responded with “Annette Sykes is a stupid person”. That’s how National views critics.
Katie Bradford, Parliamentary Press Gallery, and TV1 journalist. Judith Collins makes allegations to a TV3 journalist, that Ms Bradford asked the Minister to intervene on behalf of her (Bradford’s) husband to join the police force. This is refuted by Ms Bradford as untrue. Collins later apologises.
Parliament: Justice, Minister—Statements
Fairfax media: MFAT briefing requested before Oravida dinner
Otago Daily Times: Peters reveals details of tea tape
NZ Herald: Oravida gave another $30,000 to National
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 6 May 2014.
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