Judith Collins hits the ground running

Stacey Kirk is surprised.  I don’t see why.

Barely a week back in Cabinet and, boy, has Judith Collins been busy.

She’s made two major announcements: $17 million to a cash-strapped Corrections Department; and a new scheme to make it easier for police to disclose a person’s violent criminal past to relevant people.

And she’s wasted no time in letting people know she’s in charge – placing herself at the head of projects she clearly had no part in.

A masterclass in PR became visible when police lined up an interview to tout the work they had been doing, over the course of months, to pull the disclosure scheme together.

Presumably under the Government’s “no surprises” policy, police informed Collins when she took office that the interview was planned.

This is where Collins is at her cynical best.

In there like a robber’s dog, it’s understood Collins’ office cancelled the police interview and requested police hand her briefing notes so she could do the interview instead.

The next day, however, that plan was scrapped and police were allowed to reinstate their interview after Collins, along with Justice Minister Amy Adams, issued a national press release.

It’s understood Adams was happy for it to be dealt with operationally, but the release was eventually sent because police had gone ahead and put an update on their website anyway. Insert any assumptions here.

Similar confusion reigned over stories around the Corrections funding, which was secured by former minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and signed off by Cabinet before Collins’ appointment.

It’s unclear how much credence, if any at all, should be applied to suggestions that announcement was delayed until Collins took charge.

She walks that fine line between news and sensation, which is hard not to find admirable. But that kind of manipulation we should also be very wary of.

A capable minister is back in charge and wants to be seen to be in charge, and the media call it manipulative.  Of course they do.   And all they want to do is kick Collins in the shins some more for not being nice.   She’s not there to be nice.  She’s there to get a job done, and the taxpayer has been watching her talents go to waste on the back benches far too long.


– Stacey Kirk, Stuff

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