Judith Collins forced to resign – the fallout

Justice Minister Judith Collins has been forced to walk the plank by Prime Minister John Key in  what appears to have been the deliberate scuttling of her ship, rather than the result of enemy attack.

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An ‘anonymous’ source whose identity the Prime Minister admits is known to his office sent the PM’s chief of staff a copy of an email originally written by blogger Cameron Slater in 2011. The leaked email did not appear in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book, yet if Hager had seen it there is no doubt he would have used it, as the allegation was far more serious than the email he did use about Collins leaking the name of a civil servant to Slater.

NZ First leader Winston Peters told TV3’s Patrick Gower this afternoon that the email appears to have been leaked from within National circles in a bid to force Key to remove Collins – although Peters claims the motivation was to divert attention from his own allegation that a Collins’ supporter was making quiet approaches about a possible leadership bid.

Either way, it seems likely that Collins has taken a direct hit from within, rather than without. It’s not the first time a story of infighting within National has emerged.

Turning to the email that broke the PM’s back, Slater claims to have had a lengthy phone conversation that day with Collins and reported to his other contacts that the Minister was “gunning” for Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley, who’d been caught up in a scandal over a champagne bottle.

As Collins had stated on other occasions, Feeley was “operationally independent”, so any inference of the Minister taking part in a campaign to “undermine” the head of the SFO was a constitutional no-no.

READ THE EMAIL HERE Email

Read John Key’s statement:

Judith Collins resigns as a Minister

Prime Minister John Key today announced that Hon Judith Collins has resigned from Cabinet.
Mr Key says the resignation of Ms Collins followed the receipt of new information that raises allegations about Ms Collins’ conduct as a Minister.

“The relationship between a Minister and their Chief Executive is vital, and goes right to the heart of a trusted, effective government.

“This new information suggests Ms Collins may have been engaged in discussions with a blogger in 2011 aimed at undermining the then Director of the Serious Fraud Office. Ms Collins was the Minister responsible for the SFO at the time.

Mr Key released an email which had been recently been provided to his office.

“I have spoken with Ms Collins about the matters in the email, and she strongly denies any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour on her part.

“Ms Collins accepts these are serious allegations and that resigning as a Minister is the honourable step to take in these circumstances.

Mr Key says Ms Collins resignation takes effect immediately, and Hon Christopher Finlayson will be Acting Minister of Justice, Hon Craig Foss will be Acting Minister for ACC, and Hon Hekia Parata will be Acting Minister for Ethnic Affairs.

READ JUDITH COLLINS’ STATEMENT:

This morning I informed the Prime Minister that I am resigning as a Minister from Cabinet.

A new allegation has come to light from an email conversation from 2011 between Cameron Slater and others suggesting I was undermining the then Director of the Serious Fraud Office. I was not party to this email or discussion and have only today been made aware of it.

“I absolutely and strongly deny this and any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour. I am restrained in clearing my name while I am still a Minister inside Cabinet and I believe the right thing to do is to resign as a Minister so I am able to clear my name.

I have asked the Prime Minister for an Inquiry into these serious allegations so that my name can be cleared. I will, of course, cooperate with any Inquiry.”

“The Election should be focused on the issues that matter such as law and order, health, education and the economy and I do not want this matter to be a distraction for the Prime Minister or the National Party during the campaign.

“I am a strong advocate for the people of Papakura and I will continue to put the same passion and energy into representing them.

“I am getting on with my job as MP for Papakura and will campaign strongly for re-election this year.

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2 Comments

  1. Kiaora

    Watching the video clip of Cameron Slater aka whaleoil blogger speaking to journalists this afternoon, it appears he was ‎”talking up a big game” ‎when he claimed in an email that Judith Collins was “gunning” for the former ‎director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley.‎

    His opening statement outside his home to invited journalists ‎”Judith Collins has now been taken down by death by a thousand cuts”, reeks of hypocracy by an uncouth, nasty, “venal” vile and vindictive fiend.

    Apologies about the overuse of the above adjectives.

    “When challenged on whether he was therefore lying in the email, he said ‎‎”embellish is a good word. It’s better than lie isn’t it?”‎

    Journalists also asked if he would “give back double” for the bringing down of ‎his friend, he replied: “I always give back double” and “Judith always gives ‎back double”.‎

    In his statement Mr Slater also claims Judith Collins is a victim of a large scale ‎criminal conspiracy and said “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the ‎game never ends”.‎

    The things he was saying in that interview, I find very scary and threatening…

    I refer to him as WHALE WAHA

    WHALE WAHA
    Judith Collins has now been taken down by ‘death by a thousand cuts’.‎

    As Judith and I are friends I am gutted for her.‎

    John Key has said it many times, she’s worked very hard and has been a very ‎good minister. So good in fact that she’s been the focus of a sustained, ‎coordinated conspiracy over 6 months to take her out.‎

    Reporter: “I spoke at length with Judith Collins, she said she was gunning for ‎Feeley’, has that happened, was it said or not? ‎

    WHALE WAHA
    Well you are the journalists you should have done some research—‎

    Reporter: We’re asking you now.‎

    WHALE WAHA
    If you’d done your job, you’ll know this email was sent one year before Adam ‎Feeley resigned of his own accord.‎

    If Judith Collins was “gunning” for somebody, she would have got them.‎

    Reporter: So why did you write it?‎

    WHALE WAHA
    I’m talking up a BIG GAME.‎

    Reporter: Do you plan to give back double?‎

    WHALE WAHA
    I always give back double.‎

    Reporter: And how’d you think you might do that?‎

    WHALE WAHA
    You’ll have to wait and see.‎

    Reporter: Do you think Judith Collins is going to get back double?‎

    WHALE WAHA
    Judith always gets back double.‎

    Reporter: Do you think its acceptable for Judith Collins to give back double?‎

    WHALE WAHA
    I think its acceptable to hold people to account for the underhanded things ‎that they do to people.‎

    Reporter: Holding to account doesn’t give mean giving back double, usually it ‎just matching.‎

    WHALE WAHA
    Well, that’s your rules. We play by our rules.‎

    END OF VIDEO INTERVIEW

    Will Slater and Collins be held to account for the underhanded things ‎that they colluded together on in regards to the releasing of Mr Pleasants (an official) name and the subsequent threats to himself and his whanau after Slater posted an article claiming Mr Pleasants leaked details in relation to Finance Minister Bill Englishs’ accommodation allowance, and the man had nothing to do with it.

    Where’s the Justice for him? Irrespective of the fact that the police were called in and went to see Slater, either take down those comments or the offending article or be arrested.

    I’d like to see that blog site permanently pulled and crushed and also for it to be taken down by ‘death by a thousand cuts’, Karma is a bi&&h.

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