Judith Collins

Winston and Kelvin Davis need to get their facts straight

Yesterday in parliament Winston Peters and Kelvin Davis led a shameless and more to the point dead wrong attack against a local company in Northland.

They are trying to link Judith Collins into the attack and Nick Smith didn’t really help her with his hesitant responses.

Kelvin Davis : Has he discussed the issue of swamp kauri exports with Judith Collins, whose husband, David Wong-Tung, and good friend Stone Shi are directors in the chain of shell companies that owns the Ruakākā mill, the ultimate ownership of which is obscured by a lawyer’s nominee company?

Mr SPEAKER : In so far as there may be some ministerial responsibility.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : I thought that this member was above getting involved in that sort of murk.

Kelvin Davis : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did ask a question, and it was not addressed.

Mr SPEAKER : Yes, and I said that the Minister could answer it in so far as there was ministerial responsibility. There was very little connection there with ministerial responsibility. I allowed the Minister to answer it the way he did, and that is acceptable.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Is he denying what is well known to locals in Northland: that swamp kauri is being exported illegally and that his ministry’s lax enforcement of the law is because people high up in Oravida are major donors and players in the National Party, and there are the photographs of the logs, all being exported illegally?

Mr SPEAKER : Again, I will invite the Minister to answer if he sees ministerial responsibility.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : The law in respect of the export of indigenous forests was passed in 1993, with that member’s support. It was softened in 2004 by colleagues adjacent to him, with his support. My advice is that the law is being followed.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. He cannot get up and accuse me of supporting a law when I was not a member of the Government. He did it on both occasions—1993 and 1994. We all know that. He is just telling lies.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] No, I do not need further help with that. That is certainly not a point of order. I will invite the Minister, if he wishes, to add further to his answer in order to complete it before we go to further supplementary questions.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : I would invite the member to check the Hansard as to how New Zealand First voted in 1993 on the Forests Amendment Act, and, again, as to how the party voted in 2004 when the law was changed.

They are running off their mouths under the protection of parliamentary privilege.    Read more »

Crusher’s baaaack

Judith Collins has a hard hitting column in the Sunday Star-Times showing her mettle again on law and order.

Who would want to be an undercover police officer? You put your life on the line, you leave your home and family, you assume an identity, you live with people who are violent drug dealers in constant fear for your life, and then they start to suspect you.

Either you get out and the whole costly operation is compromised or you stay put and leave your life in the hands of people who might well kill you.  If they find out who you really are, not only are you at serious risk, but so is your family.

So, you might think the police could set up a fake search warrant, like the fake identity items you already have, to bolster your story and provide you better cover. Well, you’d be wrong.

Nelson police targeted the Red Devils gang in the undercover Operation Explorer, from September 2009 to March 2011.

Explorer resulted in more than 150 charges, including drugs, firearms and conspiracy charges, being laid against 21 members and associates of the gang. That sounds like a great result to me.

But, the Crown recently dropped the case after Justice David Collins stayed a majority of the charges because, he says, evidence for them was ‘improperly’ obtained by police.

Justice Collins ruled police probably broke the law when they forged that search warrant and prosecuted an undercover officer to bolster his credibility with the gang. He said the police’s actions amounted to “significant misconduct” and possible “serious criminal offending”.

Police Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess has said officers involved in the fake warrant and prosecution “were acting in the honest belief that their actions were lawful and necessary to protect the undercover officer”.

Police reviewed the conduct of staff involved with Operation Explorer in 2012 and found no prosecution or disciplinary action were required.

I couldn’t agree more with the police. It is simply outrageous that serious criminal offending by a dangerous gang be allowed to go unanswered. Their illegal firearms continue to be out on the streets, and these dangerous criminals continue to be a risk to families and communities. The gang must be laughing. The message is clear to criminal gangs. Let your new friend know you think they could be police, know that if they are, the operation will be closed down.

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Key now defending Collins, what a turn around

It appears John Key is defending Judith Collins over claims she is the one making noises over Health and Safety law changes.

I suspect it is more a case of seeing she is getting good headlines and wanting those for himself.

Richard Harman writes:

Prime Minister John Key says the Health and Safety Reform Bill is being brought up by just about every organisation he visits.

But answering questions on the Bill at his Monday post Cabinet press conference he was quick to deny that any “particular caucus member or a small group of people” were driving what is now obviously a rewrite of the Bill being undertaken by the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee.

Mr Key’s comment is presumably a direct reference to National MP Judith Collins and the way she has left hints suggesting she has mobilised support from within the Caucus against the Bill.

Instead he said: “What has been true in our Caucus is that there has been wide ranging feedback from the people that we meet out in the community every day.”

“There’s a really really broad set of views on it.

“What we are concerned about is that we set the law in the right place.

“In other words that we improve health and safety ion the workplace but not in such a way that we pass legislation that is far too difficult for companies, particularly small ones, to follow or that it’s just too expensive for them to follow.

That may allay the concerns of some opponents of the Bill who worry about things like the provision for any sized business to have an employee as a Health and Safety Representative with considerable powers.

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Judith Collins: time for a serious discussion about euthanasia

Judith Collins has a column  in the Sunday Star-Times that has made it to online.

She says it is now time for a serious debate on euthanasia.

My dad died 20 years ago from cancer.  He’d kept working on the farm until he was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer about three weeks before he died, just short of his 76th birthday.

As soon as he was diagnosed with cancer, which his oncologist thought he’d had for years, he started saying goodbye. Every day, Dad dressed to receive his visitors as his surviving mates from the RSA came to say goodbye.

He made out that he’d finally given up smoking – he hadn’t.  What was the point?

He conducted himself with all the dignity and courage I would expect.  I hope to do the same one day.  He made his death relatively easy for us.

Three weeks after his diagnosis, Dad’s body started to close down.  He collapsed at home and was taken by ambulance to hospital.  I’m told by one of my family that on arrival, Dad asked for morphine.  He was asked if he had pain.  He said, he just wanted morphine. We, his children, stayed with Dad.  The hospital gave him morphine.  He got more and more as the day and the night went on. He asked for it and the next day he died.

He’d seen a lot of death during World War II.  He wasn’t afraid of it but he would have hated losing his dignity. He died with his mind intact.

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Judith Collins has quit as a Member of Parliament

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She’s kept that quiet.  Even from me.   Wonder if John Key knows?

But it must be true.  It’s in the NZ Herald.  And they wouldn’t lie, would they?   Aren’t they New Zealand’s paper of record?

Labour lies about door and Judith shanks them

Judith Collins has shown that she still has the goods, shanking Labour hard over the $30,000 door between offices that they have insisted on.

Audrey Young has the story:

National MP Judith Collins tonight released emails that show a $30,000 door that will separate Labour MPs from National MPs sharing a floor in Parliament House was opposed by the National Party.

She and six other National MPs were consulted about the door by National senior whip Tim Macindoe in January this year.

Mr Macindoe’s reply to her and the six other MPs he consulted says: “I have now heard from all of you in response to my request for your thoughts about installing an extra security door on Level2 and I’m pleased that you are all of the same view…Thank-you for replying and for the helpful reasons you provided for not wanting the door.”

Mr Macindoe said he had told Jim Robb, the Parliamentary Service group manager of precinct services, that National wanted to the status quo to be maintained.

Labour whip Chris Hipkins said yesterday the door had been proposed by National MP Gerry Brownlee after last September’s election, but omitted to say parties had been consulted in January to say whether they really wanted it.

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Little should worry about his own back rather than trying to protect my good friend John Key

Andrew Little is out there trying to kick up some insurrection inside National.

There isn’t any, I’d know if there was because I’d be helping it along. Quite simply Andrew Little is dreaming.

“She’s clearly got ambitions for the top job,” says Labour Party leader Andrew Little. “She’s currying favour with whomever she can. She has seen an opportunity and I think she is going for it.”

Mr Little might just be onto something.

“I’m friends with most of the people in my caucus, particularly on the backbench,” says Ms Collins.

Yes, that’s right – “my caucus”.

Typically National is good at keeping internal divisions under wraps. But there are strong interests at work here – think farmers, forestry, small business, fishing and not to mention the force that is Ms Collins.

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Judith Collins Interviewed by Heather Du Plessis-Allen on Q&A

HEATHER So I began by asking, ‘Are you on a comeback?’

JUDITH What as?

HEATHER Well, comeback from- You’ve obviously been put into exile, so you’re coming back from that?

JUDITH I’ve never really felt in exile, because I’ve been, thankfully, re-elected as the member for Papakura. And I’m just getting on with my work, and I’m on select committees, and I’m having a lot of fun, and I’m loving writing, cos I’m writing now, every week, and just those sorts of things are things I enjoy doing.

HEATHER Yeah, you are. You have a column every week. You’ve recently appeared on a comedy show, of all things.

JUDITH I know.

HEATHER How did you enjoy that?

JUDITH It was so much fun, actually. I’d do it again.   Read more »

After Key. Then what?

When the media regularly speculate about what is to happen after you’re gone, it is an indicator that you are in the autumn of your political career.   Audrey Young assists the process along.

The ponytail saga might have confirmed Mr Key’s infallibility to his hero-worshippers, but it has made talk of his succession a little more relevant.

As was evident in his biography, John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, his threshold for tolerating failure is low.

In 2012, after a difficult but not disastrous year, he talked to wife Bronagh about whether he was still committed to remaining in the job.

And she was stronger than him about staying on and not be seen to be ”running away”, as he put it.

He has said he will stand again in 2017 because that is what leaders have to say until they change their minds.

But nobody would be shocked if Mr Key changed his mind if his popularity waned, given that his popularity sustains his political drive.

If it happened, it would not happen soon because he would want to recover his respect rather than slink away.

There is no suggestion of a leadership challenge.

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Maori making grab for water and Nick Smith & Bill English appear to be helping them

Maori are going to go after water as the next grievance claim….and it appears that Bill English and Nick Smith are entertaining their claims and negotiating with them instead of telling them to piss off.

Maori leaders have mounted a bid for effective ownership of a share of the country’s freshwater.

This would allow them, and other with water rights, to onsell it to those who need water for irrigation, hydropower and other commercial uses.

Talks between the powerful Iwi Leaders Group and the Government, fronted by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Environment Minister Nick Smith, are at a critical stage after ministers rejected a nationwide ‘Waterlords’ settlement along the lines of the Sealords deal over Maori commercial fishing claims.

The Government is adamant it will not hand over rights in perpetuity to Maori – but it may compromise by allowing regional councils to do local deals with Maori.

Farmers are worried that there will not be enough water to go around if significant quantities of freshwater are set aside for Maori.

In a Cabinet paper, Smith points to possible “catchment by catchment” deals at a regional government level. The Crown has acknowledged Maori interests and rights in freshwater but their extent and nature is at issue. The Government may set criteria by which local iwi can get preferential access to water, catchment by catchment, Smith says.

Ministers and iwi leaders held a summit at Waitangi during the February 6 commemorations, in a swift response to an iwi- commissioned report proposing radical ways to deal with freshwater and Maori claims. The report, by research group Sapere, proposed a nationwide settlement, an end to 35-year renewals of water consents. and a move to permanent rights and a market in tradable water rights.

It argued the regime would not only be a boon for Maori but would add $2 billion to the value of power-generating assets, $5.5b to the primary sector and boost the overall economy, while helping reduce the effects of drought through more efficient use of water. It would also open the way for the Government to levy resource taxes on income from using the water.

If National wants to lose more than just Northland they will keep on going with this process under the control of Bill English and Nick Smith.    Read more »