Sunday, August 31, 2014

ON JUDITH COLLINS

I am proud to count Judith Collins as a friend.   That friendship goes back 12 years when she took up the fight to achieve justice for Vietnam veterans and forced the Health Select Committee to conduct an inquiry into our exposure to Agent Orange and the like against the wishes of the then Minister (George Hawkins ... remember him).  

That inquiry culminated in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Crown and RNZRSA and the Ex-Vietnam Services Association and a raft of measures designed to improve the lot of Vietnam veterans including a commitment to review the War Pensions Act 1954.     That commitment was realised in the passing of the Veteran's Support Act just a few week ago.     The entire veteran community is hugely indebted to Judith Collins.

Judith Collin's has been a particularly effective minister.    Polarizing perhaps, but she got things done in a range of important portfolios.    Judith Collins was never a candidate for 'Yes Minister'.   She called a spade a shovel and if people didn't like that then tough.   She was/is her own person.

I guess like all of us there are things she did which, on reflection, she might have handled differently and Judith would acknowledge that.    But the reality is that the left fueled, media driven campaign against her had the potential, if allowed to run on and on, to seriously undermine National's election campaign.    There comes a point where enough is enough and Judith recognised than and so tendered here resignation.

As for Cameron Slater's e-mail which he has already admitted to having 'embellished' and Judith will have taken considerable heart from the Press Release by the State Services Commissioner released this morning and reproduced below.     I have highlighted the important bits  .....

Press Release by State Services Commission at  9:38AM, 31 Aug 2014
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"The State Services Commission was contacted by the Prime Minister's Office over the last 24 hours on this issue."

“Any activity that undermines, or has the potential to undermine, the trust and confidence in the public service to impartially serve the interests of the government and New Zealanders is a matter of concern to me.”

"It is important that Chief Executives and Ministers mutually support each other to carry out their respective roles, in order to work together to serve the best interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders. Ministers are entitled to hold public servants to high standards of trust and performance and, in turn, should respect the role the public service plays."

"I am therefore extremely concerned by an allegation that a Minister has associated with third parties to discuss influencing my assessment of a Public Service Chief Executive.  If true, this would be wholly unacceptable.”

"I told the Prime Minister’s Office that Judith Collins had a positive view of Mr Feeley’s  performance through her time as Minister responsible for the Serious Fraud Office."

"The Commission has reviewed its documentation and sought the recollections of staff responsible for the SFO portfolio at the time in coming to this view.  This includes the period following the date of the email in October 2011 released today by the Prime Minister.  Earlier in 2011, Judith Collins had raised with me the appropriateness of Mr Feeley’s consumption of a bottle of champagne following a media inquiry.

“It was appropriate that she spoke to me about this matter and my view on the matter was released publicly at the time."


"Any campaign to undermine my confidence in Adam Feeley’s performance was entirely ineffective and unsuccessful.  He was a strongly performing Chief Executive through his tenure for his work in transforming the SFO and vigorously pursuing criminal conduct in respect of finance company collapses.”

I would be very happy to consider Mr Feeley’s return to the Public Service in the future.”

ENDS.
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It would be entirely premature for me to thank Judith for all her good works.   She will work to clear her name and the SSC PR is a great start.   She will be back and won't the dark side of politics hate it.




   

13 comments:

Snow Angel said...

"She will be back and won't the dark side of politics hate it.

What an odd thing to say. Why would Key/Ede/Slater/Odgers and the rest of the Nats' exposed dirty tricks unit hate to see Collins return?

Anyway, she's gone and won't be back. Poor dear. The funny thing is the Nats themselves did her in with a bit of help from Slater (is he a liar or not do you think?).

Nick K said...

Good on you for standing by your friend, Vet. But I can't agree with much of this unfortunately.

The Veteran said...

Snow Angel .... so you disagree with the SSC that Cameron Slater got it wrong in the e-mail?

And if you're so naive to thank that politicians from all sides don't leak when convenient or don't play so called dirty tricks then how would you characterise Phil Goff's leaking of the MFAT staffers notes on a conversation Don Brash, then Leader of the Opposition, had with a visiting US delegation?

Perhaps we should really be talking about whether New Zealand wants Wussel Norman as DPM and Minister of O'Seas Trade; the Gucci Sheila as DPM and Minister of Social Development; Harawira as Minister of Maori Affairs and John Minto as chair of the Education and Science Select Cttee.

Snow Angel said...

"so you disagree with the SSC that Cameron Slater got it wrong in the e-mail?"

What makes you think that? The SSC are being good wee toadies, but Collins' official statements regarding Feely are hardly going to announce she's been part of right wing covert effort to hound him from his job, now are they?

The Veteran said...

SA ... nice to know that the SSC is part of the conspiracy too ... thanks for that.

sigh

Snow Angel said...

Where did I say that? Slater's the one claiming a vast conspiracy (he doesn't get irony, apparently). I'm just pointing out that either Collins or Slater is lying. Which one? Neither have a good track record, so might be both!

Paulus said...

I hear that Cunliffe said today that he does not believe the State services Commissioner.
Great to be called a Liar by a Liar.
Do not know who gave you the money - yes I believe you Cunliffe. ABC have given you until the 20th.

Psycho Milt said...

Point of order: the SSC press release doesn't say Cameron Slater is wrong in his email. The Commissioner has no way of knowing whether or not the Minister was privately assisting her friend with his campaign against Feeley - if she was, she certainly wouldn't have told him about it.

The Veteran said...

You're right of course PM. What the PR sez is that notwithstanding anything Slater wrote (which he now agrees he embellished) Judith Collins had a positive view of Feeley and that all she ever did was to alert him (the Commissioner) to a single incident which, in his view, was entirely appropriate and which he dealt with.

For someone supposedly working to undermine Feeley she didn't do it too well. He was still there long after she relinquished the portfolio.

A more balanced view might be that she wasn't and Slater was being Slater.

No Secret Trusts here.

Anonymous said...

Judith Collins must be really good; the only reason I can think of for the hate the left have for her is that they fear her.

JeffW

Snow Angel said...

The PM stiched her up. Is he left wing now?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely Jeff.

There is nothing the left fear and despise more than an assertive, confident, conservative woman.

Mrs Danvers

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

I've taken the liberty of posting this on my facebook page as I believe it is important that all Veterans step back for a moment and think. Getting pissed off with some who are lashing out in thier stupidity