Even more new, damning evidence on Collins.

Even more new, damning evidence on Collins.

I do not want to talk about Judith Collins’ “private” dinner. There are plenty of people making astute points about her impropriety there already. Instead, I want to draw attention to another damning part of last week’s Friday afternoon OIA-dump.

It shows that Judith Collins’ visit to Oravida was an official, Ministerial visit specifically designed by the New Zealand government to improve Oravida’s, and only Oravida's, business opportunities in China. That is something Judith Collins is strictly forbidden from doing in her Ministerial capacity, because her husband is a director of the company.

This is further evidence that Collins has used taxpayer funds to help her husband’s business, and that she has spent the last two months lying about that fact to her boss, the Parliament, and the people of New Zealand. She must resign.

Here is the relevant part of the OIA-dump (pdf as well – see pp 30-31):

Meeting Brief: Oravida

Date and Time
23 October 1530-1630

Event
Visit and Tour of Oravida Facilities

Purpose / objective
To increase the profile of a successful importer and distributor of New Zealand products into China

Agenda items / event outline
1445 Depart Bureau of Justice for Oravida Offices

1530 Arrive at Office
Met by Oravida Management
Visit and tour of Oravida facilities
Afternoon tea / chance to meet management and employees

1630 Depart for Pudong International Airport

Background of organization / institution
Oravida New Zealand Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oravida Ltd., a diversified company which owns a number of businesses in different sectors. The company is owned by Mr Deyi (Stone ) Shi and has two directors, Julia Xu and David Wong-Tung.

[…]

Attendees

Chinese side to be confirmed

New Zealand
Minister
Ambassador
Consul-General
Malcolm
Macintosh

First, far from being a "pop in" "20-minute stop" for a "cup of tea" or "glass of milk" "on the way to the airport," as Collins has claimed in Parliament, this was an almost two hour excursion, with four officials in tow, going away from the airport, complete with a full hour-long official Ministerial programme at Oravida. Collins' statements to Parliament have been simple lies, told to conceal an ugly, corrupt truth.

Second, Collins has also claimed in Parliament:

I was being driven around and I was assured by the ambassador that we could pop into Oravida on the way to the airport, or else I could have gone to the airport and I could have sat in the lounge for an extra long time.

This document shows that was also a lie. The meeting with Oravida was neither informal, spontaneous, nor on the way to the airport. The meeting was planned by officials long in advance, and was ticked off by Collins as part of her Ministerial itinerary before she left New Zealand.

Third, when she ticked off the meeting with Oravida, Collins agreed to head a New Zealand government team whose explicit, agreed purpose was “To increase the profile of [Oravida].”

That is the critical point.

Collins is prohibited from using her Ministerial position to “increase the profile” of firms from which her husband, David Wong-Tung, may derive a benefit. She breached the Cabinet Manual in participating in this visit knowing full well, in advance, its purpose and the conflict it entails. Hell, MFAT even named Collins’ husband as a director right there on the page, in case she needed any reminding!

Here is the relevant section of the Cabinet Manual (section 2.62):

A conflict may arise if people close to a Minister, such as a Minister's family, whanau, or close associates, might derive, or be perceived as deriving, some personal, financial, or other benefit from a decision or action by the Minister or the government.

So, let’s tick off the elements:

Does David Wong-Tung benefit in any way from the success of Oravida New Zealand Ltd, which he serves as a director?
Yes.

Did Judith Collins take an action that might benefit Oravida, and therefore David Wong-Tung?
Yes. She visited its facility in Shanghai in order to raise its profile.

Was that action taken in her Ministerial capacity?
Yes. Her visit was an official engagement, arranged by MFAT, with on-site support from four diplomatic officials.

Did the Minister know that her action would benefit Oravida, and therefore David Wong-Tung?
Yes. She was informed in advance and in writing that the purpose of the visit was to increase Oravida’s local profile in China.

I anticipate another dreadful, embarrassing performance in Parliament from Collins this week in light of this issue and the others she is facing this week. And I expect her resignation will be announced early next week so it can be immediately drowned out by the Budget.

Filed under: 

Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on May 9, 2014.

Comments

Peter says:

@ George D

Thanks for pointing out Collins' China speech. You're right: it's an extraordinary piece of irony. I'm amazed the media have not picked up on it.

George D says:

"New Zealand also has a State Service Code of Conduct that applies to all public sector employees. This ensures public servants are aware of their obligations and boundaries.

The Code is also available to the public, which increases the transparency and accountability of public servants and the public sector in general"

...

"The second tool in the fight against corruption is increasing public education and awareness. People need to know what corruption looks like, and what to do if they see it.

Corruption, by nature, is a surreptitious offence; it will always be difficult to detect. As with illness, prevention is the best cure. But where prevention fails, good detection mechanisms are necessary."

Extraordinary.

Harry says:

Pole vaulting over mouse shit

Tigress says:

Is that it? Really? THAT'S your "smoking gun"? Wow, Labour. Just wow.

Paul says:

Yes, that's it. Maybe as you can't, you might want to explain why that isn't a conflict of interest!

McChristchurch says:

Tigress?
Wow Judith! Are you for real? Wow?
Or just Judith in slinky yellow and black camo suit?
Hasn't attacking like a tigress on Twitter got you into enough trouble already?
Go have a nice holiday, a lie-down and then resign to "spend more time with family".
Do the honourable thing by the Party tigress!
You know it makes sense Judith.

McChristchurch says:

Mrs Wong-Tung, you can run, but you can't hide.
Even in a tigress costume.
Do the honourable thing and withdraw.
Call it family. Call it new horizons and challenges.
Call it what the spin doctors tell you to,
Look how your mentor Jenny Shipley thrived since she left Parliament.
You can do it tigress ... for the sake of the Party

peggity gwes says:

Meh

M Warda says:

there shouldn't be special privileges for one exporter, especially based on personal greed, polite lies etc. . . the more people informed the better, regardless of party preference etc

Greg Presland says:

I take it up the crap form wombats !

Greg Presland says:

And I luvs felating emus !

bbfloyd says:

What on earth is this "smoking gun" rubbish supposed to mean?? When even former tory hemerrhoids like Duncan Garner are speaking, and writing openly on just how many of the national party are intrinsically involved with Oravida, then it becomes rather obvious that both collins, and Williamson have been thrown under the tanks to buy time.... Does anyone with a brain seriously think that this will be an "isolated" incident?? Is there any still deluded enough to argue that this episode "sets a precedent"?

The precedent has been in place for a while now...This is just the tories getting sloppy as a result of the interference the "fourth estate" has been running for them up until recently....

Clemgeopin says:

I can only laugh at National’s spin, manipulation and BS about her going on stress leave. This whole scandal is created by Collins herself through her dodgy actions and dodgy statements. Her own behaviour and Key’s defense are entirely responsible for this despicable episode. If she has been truthful and has nothing to hide, then there is no reason for her to be stressed or to be running away! She and Key may want to hide from the media for a few days to hoodwink the people, but they can’t run for too long because the voters will stop them in Sept. Only the truth will set them free.

Ahh Salmond,
Labour finally gets
It's own Farrar.
Haha! Will this be
Collins last hurrah?

barf says:

New Zealand doesn't need a Thatcher-wannabe now, much how like Britain didn't need Thatcher's deleterious fiscal policy in 1979... McCarthyism is a political mental illness. However I'd be remiss to simply deride her, she might just be better suited to governance of private organisations, where back-room deals are the modus operandi. Then again, New Zealand voted to have the country run by a private political party... perhaps the public lacks this understand of the difference betweena private and public party?

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Toni says:

Yes, that's it. Maybe as you can't, you might want to explain why that isn't a conflict of interest !
cara menurunkan asam urat dan kolesterol
Corruption, by nature, is a surreptitious offence; it will always be difficult to detect. As with illness, prevention is the best cure. But where prevention fails, good detection mechanisms are necessary."

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