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Collins dropped business & legal roundtable to visit her husband's company — Labour

UPDATE / May 6: Labour's Grant Robertson used Question Time in Parliament today to raise a new allegation relating to Judith Collins' Beijing trip  — that the Justice Minister dropped a scheduled business and legal roundtable to accommodate a private visit to Oravida. Ms' Collins husband David Wong-Tung is an Oravida director.

Ms Collins flatly denied the claim.

Mr Robertson tabled documents in support. NBR has requested a copy of those documents.

Ms Collins said the business and legal round table event appeared in a early draft version of her itinerary only.

"I at no stage required it to be removed," the Justice Minister said.

Ms Collins is fronting in Parliament today and tomorrow before taking what PM calls a "refresher" breaker. The Prime Minister says Ms Collins will be back by the May 20 Budget.

Trolls and bottom feeders
Meanwhile, John Key has said Ms Colliins let Twitter "trolls" get under her skin — and that the Justice Minister had decided to quit the social network.

“She’s volunteered. She’s said to me I’m going to stay off,” Mr Key said.

“My view is there’s a lot of trolls and bottom feeders on that and in the end they get in people’s head. It’s an anonymous situation it’s a form of cyber bullying, I don’t engage in that.”

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'Struggling' Collins to take time off — PM

May 5: Justice Minister Judith Collins will front up for Question Time in Parliament on Wednesday, but then take a short break, Prime Minister John Key says.

She will be "back by the Budget" on May 15.

"It was clear to me she was struggling over the last few weeks ... it led to her over-reaching," Mr Key told a press conference this afternoon.

Mr Key says Ms Collins was under pressure. The pair had two long conversations today about her recent actions.

"What I did do was make it quite clear that I think that we need to deal with this situation better. I think she is a very good minister, and she can do that," the PM says.

"Even though the issue hasn't substantively changed, it led to her overreaching in the comments she made and making comments that weren't appropriate and weren't right," Mr Key says.

"We work in a stressful environment. There's no question that Judith made some inappropriate comments and over-reached."

The PM later added that Ms Collins had let "trolls" on Twitter get under her skin.

The "refresher" break was pitched as a mutual decision.

The PM added, "By definition some weeks are better than others. Last week probably wasn't our flashest week, but then again the week before wasn't that flash for Labour."

Short term Labour gain, long-term Labour pain
The sidelining is a blow to Ms Collins' leadership ambitions. The Justice Minister is often seen, along with Steven Joyce, as one of the two leading contenders to succeed John Key when he decides to retire. Like Maurice Williamson, she is on the party's hard right — in commentator Matthew Hooton's view, too far right to win an election.

The current imbroglio makes it more likely the centralist, more electable Steven Joyce will one day replace Mr Key — ironically, a negative outcome for the Labour-Greens bloc that has pursued Ms Collins so hard, and a positive one for ACT, which needs space to grow on the right.

The Justice Minister's actions in regard to milk company Oravida, of which her husband David Wong-Tung is a director, have drawn sustained opposition attacks.

On Sunday, the Justice Minister implied TVNZ reporter Katie Bradford had approached her for help getting her (then) husband into Police College in 2010. Ms Bradford denied the claim. Later that day, Ms Collins apologised.


 

Oravida timeline

October 20, 2013: Collins has dinner with Oravida bosses Stone Shi and Julia Xu, along with a senior Chinese border official in Beijing, China, while on a tax-funded trip. She claims it was a "personal dinner" and that no business was discussed with the milk company, which has been having border control issues since the Fonterra botulism scare.

October 23, 2013: Collins visits Oravida's Shanghai offices "on the way to the airport".

December 20, 2013: Oravida displays a border control sanitary certificate on social media, according to NZ First.

December 23, 2013: Oravida makes a $30,000 donation to the National Party.

Comments and questions
25

There seems to be an organised campaign against people who link up with China.
Cunliffe has had problems with Trusts and donations but the press didn't seem to pile into him like they are doing with Collins.
With Collins the press seems to be leading the attack and Labour is following.
They all knew about Collins and Oravida ages ago but saved up their outrage until an appropriate time when Key went to China.

Nothing to do with people linking up with China.
This is about influence peddling and potential corruption.

Now let us just think this through.

Oravida had a problem and asked for a minister to intercede on its behalf. A minister did so and Oravida's problem was sorted out. This is a good thing, right?

The minister's partner is a director of Oravida. What the media and the Opposition are saying is that the minister must then not help?

Oradiva donated funds to the National Party, clearly to show appreciation and as a gesture of thanks - after the fact. Why is this such a huge offense when you consider Owen Glen donated to New Zealand First and Labour - to gain a favor as in the posting in Monaco?

Hypocrisy in anything is abhorrent - in this case, it is not only abhorrent, but is also downright immoral and cowardly.

The issue is that this treatment is not normal in my experience. In my own case have had 4 or 5 occasions to ask for minster / offical assistance in dealings with Chinese businesses. Always too hard to arrange. Even with reasonable notice.

I have no problem with Collins actions, if ALL businesses had the same opportunity, the problem is they don't.

The fact is that Orivida was in a privaleged position.

Collins should advise how many NZ companies has she supported to the same level over the last 12 months. i suspect not very many if any.

The reason companies donate to National is not to say thank-you. It's because of a genuine fear of Labour and it's anti-business policies.

The voting public are not totally stupid JK

A slap with a wet bus ticket won't do the job.

Maybe a transfer to China as Ambassador would be a win win. Then Collins can do what she is good at and maximize her Chinese contacts

Several issues here

1. Oravida is a NZ company not a Chinese company
2. Collins courts attacks from Labour because she thinks she can play hard ball with them
3. Collins does not understand social media, she should close her twitter account

I'd describe Collins as Key's l'enfant terrible, if they weren't so close in age. Mind you, being sent to the Naughty Corner will give her time not so much to "refresh" but to plot her next blunder.

Quick hide her for a couple of days

Murray - got another Shane Ambassador posting?

"This lady's not for turning" when she's already spinning out of control.

All this aside, Judith's just posted a wonderful recipe for 'crispy skin duck' on Cam Slaters WOBH website.

From my discussions with female friends the length of the list of female voters who are really turned off by Robertson's bullying is growing by the day.

I though Robertson was meticulously polite and low key in his questioning in Parliament this afternoon - as was Collins the same with her replies.

Off camera, Mallard was going ape with high volume accusations about large amounts of money being made by Collins' family off the deal (he was ejected from the House). But I wouldn't call Robertson a bully by any stretch.

This is not just about today. Its been going on for 3 months.

Good on Judith for promoting our exports.NZ lifeblood is trade.Nice one Judith.

Agree, lots of companies that would love her support in those markets. Shame it seems that her help is very selective.

What annoys me about this whole issue is the media and Labour keep talking about Oravida as Judith's Collins husband's company. I am the 100% shareholder and sole director of two companies and I consider them 'my companies'. However if I get another director even if they are minority shareholders there is no way I would consider my companies to then be their companies. Does anyone know if her husband holds any shares in Oravida or is he simply a director?

Why doesnt Grant Robinson debate something worthwhile like why is Ngha Tahu operating on a tax free basis and find details of where they spend the so called charitable money.

Millions of untaxed dollars under the disguise of charity. But of course its the inland revenues job to be fair. Yeah right.

The hounding of Judith Collins is insignificant.

The tide will turn on Robertson - he is a bullying a women. There we go - why cant he take head on the men of the opposition.

He has found his match - bullying women

Get real Robertson is an open gay & very gentle (his downfall in wanting to be leader - + leader can only be closet gay)

Collins is reaping what she has sowen - labours only chance is to know out Keys legs of support

A few weeks ago, Rodney Hide, on Radio Live's Sunday Morning slot with Wallace Simpson, commented that, "...he doubted Judith Collins husband, David Wong-Tung, would have been appointed to the Oravida Board for his business acumen".

Maybe he knows something we don't?

Nothing sadder than a bully crying when she gets her own treatment back.

Eye of the holder - does this underpin corporate political bribery ? Or does this underpin good trade relations.

Donation is when you give something without asking for anything. It is essentially philanthropic or charitable.

If you want tax breaks, law relaxings, or ambassador posts, these things NEED to be declared along with the dollar amount.

Why don't tax payers pay a set fee for election time.

And corporates pay a floating amount. So there is two policy partitions, one billboard for business policies (funded private donations), one for public policies (tax payer).

Or why don't national take donations. Labour take public taxes.

Guys try and ready African politics for a day, then you will see how good we have it in this country.

As Justice Minister (honesty & integrity...yeah right), Judith Collins should have known better. And go the same way as Maurice Williamson has. Down the road, perhaps to a lesser role, where her perceived influences have no conflict with the commercial profit the company her husband works for has benefited from.