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Cunliffe fails to front on Mallard's '500K to family' claim against Collins

Labour leader David Cunliffe has failed to produce any evidence to back the insinuation that Judith Collins' family received $500,000 from Oravida.

Yesterday in Parliament, as Labour's Grant Robertson was asking Ms Collins why she made alleged changes to her Beijing itinerary to favour Oravida over ministerial business, Trevor Mallard yelled "Half a million dollars to the family.”

Ms Collins –  whose husband David Wong-Tung is an Oravida director –  objected to the comment and Speaker David Carter ejected Mr Mallard from the debating chamber.

This morning on TV3's Firstline, Mr Cunliffe was asked if Labour had any evidence to back the $500,000 claim.

"One of the rules of privilege is that what’s said in the House stay in the House, so I can’t really comment on that," the Labour leader replied.

Parliamentary privilege allows MPs to make some accusations without fear of legal action.

Ms Collins has asked Mr Mallard to withdraw his claim. The Labour MP has challenged Ms Collins to prove it is not correct.

Mr Cunliffe would not provide any more detail or even comment on whether it had been appropriate for Mr Mallard to make the claim.

The Labour leader said there was "more to come" on the Justice Minister's relationship with Oravida [UPDATE: Mr Cunliffe led Labour's attack on the Oravida issue in Question Time in Parliament this afternoon, asking questions of the PM as Ms Collins was not in the House. He had no new revelations.]

Ms Collins faces Question Time in Parliament again this afternoon before taking a week's "refresher".

Cash for access to cabinet ministers
Mr Cunliffe also said "New Zealanders don’t want a government that sells access to ministers" — a reference to a Green Party claim that National runs a "cabinet club" that gives big donors to the party special access to ministers.

Finance Minister Bill English says everything about the arrangement is above board and that any member of the public can seek a meeting with their local MP.

Comments and questions
29

So the same day Trev gets the bump up in the party he make a direct accusation of corruption which he does not provide proof for, does not withdraw and is removed from the house and which is lead with by TV3 news as if a statement of fact at the head of their bulletin last night with, again, no proof. Hmmm

Certainly didn't stop the picture and print media spreading the rumour and innuendo on the Judith Collins family.What a crock,that any thing fact or ficton in parliament can be said without recourse.

Cunliffe had a chance to make Labour look good by disassociating himself and the party from the unsubstantiated claims. To state he can't comment on whether there is evidence is nonsense. Of course he can. This has obviously been an orchestrated plot by Labour. Pretty low conduct.

Mallard's actions were despicable. This was a massive abuse of parliamentary privilege, designed to get a few seconds on the nightly news, while trying to start a rumour. To suggest it's up to the minister to prove something didn't happen, shows the paucity of his claim. Mr. Mallard, you've hit a new low.

It's ok - Labour has indulged in overkill and they have now snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Watch the tide of public opinion turn.

we all know many in the press are left wing so what else would you expect. They let Len Brown off his transgressions because he is left wing. If the mayor of Auckland had been a tory he would no longer be the mayor.

"Mr Cunliffe also said "New Zealander’s don’t want a government that sells access to ministers" — "

Umm...Mr 8% that's exactly what you did at your own Labour Annual Conference. Buy a booth, get special access to Labour MPs.

New Zealanders also don't want a hypocrite.

Trevor Mallard should be brought before the Privileges Committee to account for this lie. The TV3 news coverage was a disgrace last evening, and everybody knows it. It was so biased as to be laughable. Oravida is a convenient distraction for the vacuum on Labour's policy development.

Hear hear - mainstream media seem to have taken on themselves the role of opposition, with the likes of P Gower becoming the story rather than an unbiased channel of reporting. I bet we won't see Jamie-Lee Ross's excellent contribution to the Urgent Debate about Maurice Williamson reported anywhere on a major news site. One quote - "...to be lectured by Winston Peters about corruption is like being lectured by a lady of the night about abstinence..."

May I suggest that "Mallard" pops his head up on the banks of any NZ River this weekend, and we will really see how resilient he is!! he and his party are just a bunch of clowns, this Collins thing is so over the top it is not funny anymore!!

What's the chance of the Government laying a complaint with the Privileges Committee over Labour's Mallard's dirty accusation? When any member of the House smears the reputation of another member in such a way and then flatly refuses to back it up with any evidence, there should be serious consequences for that.

Seems they forgot to check their facts over the two companies selling the same milk in the same bottles and Oravida were allowed to sell theirs and the other company were not.

According to the NZ supplying company these were actually two different products with different checking criteria and due to the different checking criteria one product had to be destroyed as it was past used by date.

I guess this is what Parliamentary Privilege is for so that the opposition can make stuff up without checking - or perhaps conveniently forgetting their facts (and talk about a conflict of interest, a bunch of these people are actively seeking new positions and pay rises in a few months time and see this making stuff up as a way to help them).

The opposition's case is now starting to unravel and realising they are wasting time with the election looming they are resorting to making more and more use of the fact that they cannot be sued under parliamentary privilege. Now the leader is ducking and diving behind this as well.

I think I missed something, I was sure we elected these people to govern our country. When will they get on with doing just that? The current behaviour of Judith Collins and the opposition MP’s would not be tolerated in a Kindergarten
When will Labour, Greens, NZ First, United Future, Mana, Internet Party, Conservatives, Maori Party, Act, and any other fly by night party, actually tell us what they will do to improve NZ for its people?

We really do suffer from a village mentality when we spend so much time talking about nothing. This would not get air time in Chicago where I am at the minute - in fact thy would likely say well done Judith you are at least out in the big wide world promoting NZ product. Cunliffe and his kindergarten kids need to grow up and start thinking about how they can add value to NZ Inc on the global stage - lets see what Cunliffe's so called international business experience can do for us??

Chicago politics = definitely the model of governance to adopt...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago-style_politics

If it is "one of the rules of privilege that what is said in the house stays in the house" why is the media able to report it? Why can't the media be sued for contempt of parliament?

People people its...............politics

All staged for meat & 3 veg time so the general public gets dinner & show. All runs with the no smoke without fire

Its going to get ugly & personal as theres no real substance for anyone to attack on

Sit back, place your bet & remember its election year

Parliamentary privilege had a purpose -...long forgotten. Real issues are voiced outside. Big brave Shane hid inside parliament on supermarkets

Why has the main stream media let Cunliffe off the hook for the secret trust and donors? If Cunliffe is elected to become NZ's next Prime Minister, without disclosure of the donors identities any subsequent government policy that favours a particular industry or business sector will be suspected of being involved in getting Cunliffe elected to be the labour leader. He has been bribed, pure and simple.

On top of that, Grant Robertson has been caughtout misleading Parliament with his claims that Oravida products got favoured treatment getting into China with the "same milk" from the "same supplier". Mary Wilson's interview with the supplier on Radio NZ yesterday had the supplier clearly explaining Roberston was wrong.

Trev is a Parliment hooligan

Let's not insult hooligans by putting Trev in the same category as them!

He is a cowardly thug who only bullies when hidden behind a protective wall.

Collins has to go or I'll have no one to vote for come the next election.
First she grubbily and cynically points a finger at and wrongly fires John Judge as ACC chairman;, then she adds insult to injury appointing none other than a former chairman of Capital + Merchant Finance as deputy chair of ACC (and, if one can believe it, as chair of its investment committee); then she appoints family friend Robert Kee as the new director of human rights proceedings and now she does this favour for her husband's company while on a state visit to China. It really is little wonder that she thought she could get away with anything after JohnK ignored all the long trail of prior mis-judgement (no pun intended to JohnJ)

Can't comment on here as I'm a moderate centrist.

Yep, it's a tough gig if you like both business and the environment, and also happen to have a social conscience. Far too many apologists for corruption from all parties.

Why can't we just all agree that Collins, Williamson, and Mallard are all out of line, and both Cunliffe and Key need to be better at reigning in their ministers?

Because that would be far too sensible - I agree with you both - I often feel like a visitor at the insane asylum by choosing to follow New Zealand politics.

It would be great to debate policies and ideas rather than constantly having to rake mud, engage in partisan points scoring and make value judgements on people's (MP's) behaviour.

Mind you that is probably why anyone with half a brain and a reasonable EQ stays away from politics.

But at least I have some company on my pedestal!

Labour quickly forgets their own attempts at selling access to their MP at their last conference ? Maybe no-one actually paid or thought it was worth it. I have been a member of two different cabinet clubs and been to many events. Frankly, the most interesting conversations were had with other Cabinet club members rather than with cabinet ministers. Sure the ministers spoke, and they were interesting and answered questions they could in public setting. To think it is $ for access/policy influence, labour is sadly mistaken (again)....

Had enough of Mallard's oleaginous swivel-eyed warblings..these Fabian quislings should have the testicular fortitude to front up on the steps of the Beehive...which of course they won't dare to do. Pygmy cultural marxist weaklings.

I didn't believe I could more disgusted with the Labour Party but I am.

My default mode is now to just assume that everything they come out with is just complete rubbish. They have nothing.

The tried and true obfuscation and sleight of hand distractions when the political Left are bereft of credible policies - is to fling and sling smears knowing sensationalist Old Media enjoy an attention-seeking politician frothing at the mouth in faux moral outrage.

Too bad for NZInc the tired Old Media won't give secret trusts and laundered donations as much attention. Then there's Labour's corrupt Auckland Mayor and all his dodgy dealings. When will Old Media start asking credible questions of Cunliffe & Len Brown?