The Dim-Post

May 6, 2014

Persona

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 10:08 am

Via Stuff:

Labour is preparing to go for the jugular when Justice Minister Judith Collins faces the House today.

She is set to face Question Time after a two-week recess, during which official documents were released outlining the planning that went into a dinner Collins held with executives of Chinese company Oravida and a Chinese border control official, while on a taxpayer-funded trip to China.

I doubt Collins is going to get ‘crushed’ in Question Time. She’ll say that she’s been cleared by the Cabinet Office. Robertson and Peters will insist that she’s mislead the House. The Speaker will tell them off for asking ‘political questions’ (If you’ve never watched Parliament’s Question Time with David Carter as Speaker you might think I’m joking there, but no) and threaten to remove them from the chamber. Onto the next question.

One of the most insightful things I’ve read about Collins is Rob Hosking’s piece in the NBR – it’s behind the paywall, so I can’t link to or quote from it. Rob points out that in her political career Collins is very much playing a larger than life role but, paradoxically, that role is no nonsense, straight-talking ‘Crusher Collins’; so she’s putting on a show by pretending to be genuine, and constantly drawing attention to this. Most of her current problems, Hosking argues, stem from her fidelity to this performance.

Hosking’s column also wonders where the ‘Crusher’ nickname came from. The media? Herself? Or a staffer? I don’t know – it bobbed up in National’s first term when Collins introduced her car crushing legislation. That first term was a very, very good time for Judith Collins. It’s where she refined the ‘Crusher’ persona that the media and factions of the National Party were so smitten with for so long. Apparently when Collins was introduced at the Young Nats ball the regional leader received an ovation when he declared  ‘I love that woman more than sharks love blood.’ It’s a line from the mediocre US reboot of House of Cards, but it demonstrates the affection felt for’ Crusher’ within elements of her own party. 

Only . . . we haven’t seen much of Crusher in the last two and a half years. We’ve seen a faltering MP who used to be Crusher attempting to live up to her own legend and damaging herself even further in the process. I don’t know what happened, but in her first term Collins was advised by a very clever, very cunning press secretary – one easily capable of devising the ‘Crusher’ nickname and the persona that grew up around it – who left Parliament after the last election and went to work in the banking industry. When Nats say that they love ‘Crusher’, they’re probably expressing their devotion towards a fictional character created by a middle-aged man who no longer even works for the National Party.

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23 Comments »

  1. Yes to the idea that the MSM are over-egging the stoush expected from Opposition at Question Time Today. I am sure that Judith Collins will stick to her previous answers like: “It was a private dinner.” and “What Oravida do is nothing to do with me.” She will not break down and “confess.” What’s the bet she has been practising her stonewalling answers all night and all morning. “Prove it !” she will say and the “evidence” is circumstantial.
    Still Mr Key and his team looking after the rich will erode the standing of the Government.

    Comment by xianmac — May 6, 2014 @ 11:07 am

  2. The media fastened on that persona very, very quickly and refused to accept discounting evidence. At the beginning of I think 2009 Collins as the rookie Corrections Minister refused to say she had confidence in the Corrections CE following a bad report on some aspect of the Dept’s behaviour. Suddenly, according to the media, Collins had sacked the CE and he was gone before lunchtime. It was all bluff. She had no grounds for sacking him and to try to do so would have cost the Dept a lot of money and her a lot of poor publicity. The whole matter was quietly dropped and the very able CE served out his term and retired as intended several years later. Crusher’s bluff was called and she got crushed, but that didn’t get in the way of the political persona.

    Comment by Tinakori — May 6, 2014 @ 11:39 am

  3. I was told some time back that JC’s nickname in caucus was “Darth Vader in pearls”. Looking forward to Star Wars in parliament today. Ian

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Comment by Ian — May 6, 2014 @ 11:47 am

  4. Judith Collins has been “pushed beyond her capacity”, has an “unfortunately high estimation of her own competence … and spent too much time cultivating the media herself and believing the resulting publicity”.

    Bill English, e-mail (published in [i]The Hollow Men[/i]).

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — May 6, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

  5. Collins has never struck me as the brightest light on the Xmas tree, and her apparent mateship with Cameron Slater would seem to bear that out.

    Having said that, her rejection of Justice Binnie’s report into David Bain’s optimistic compensation claim ranks as one of her finer moments.

    Comment by Ross — May 6, 2014 @ 12:42 pm

  6. The legend of Crusher Collins as a metaphor for this government’s actual achievements as opposed to the spin is perfect. The news management and the “Everything is Awesome” talk is first rate. The actual performance; not so good.

    Comment by TerryB — May 6, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

  7. Having said that, her rejection of Justice Binnie’s report into David Bain’s optimistic compensation claim ranks as one of her finer moments.

    Seriously? Without wanting to hijack this thread and regardless of the substance of her objections, publicly dissing a Supreme Court justice from another country is a metric fuckton of rudeness, arrogance and bullying. In other words, archetypal Collins.

    Comment by TerryB — May 6, 2014 @ 1:09 pm

  8. “publicly dissing a Supreme Court justice from another country is a metric fuckton of rudeness, arrogance and bullying.”

    So, what they do doesn’t come into it, they deserve automatic deference because they are a Supreme Court Justice? I know our fellow citizens who are lawyers have to struggle daily against the premature onset of pomposity but this matches anything Judith Collins has said for absurdity.

    Comment by Tinakori — May 6, 2014 @ 3:09 pm

  9. She doesn’t appear to be that sort that would take to heart valid criticism. Which doesn’t suggest any redemption narrative arriving anytime soon,

    Comment by NeiiM — May 6, 2014 @ 4:00 pm

  10. Steve Braunias has updated his Metro piece with what’s pretty much a political obituary;

    http://metromag.co.nz/current-affairs/the-queen-is-dead/

    It’s hard to see how her leadership aspirations can survive this last week. That ’3 am call’ metric has been well and truly fluffed.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — May 6, 2014 @ 4:10 pm

  11. “When Nats say that they love ‘Crusher’, they’re probably expressing their devotion towards a fictional character”

    Perceptive comment, but I wonder if this isn’t true of basically all politicians to a greater or lesser degree. Everything we see of them is a result of media management, albeit not always of -successful- media management.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 6, 2014 @ 4:39 pm

  12. Collins’ star’s on the wane and Mallard’s is on the rise. Some form of conservation principle.

    Comment by NeiiM — May 6, 2014 @ 7:48 pm

  13. So, what they do doesn’t come into it, they deserve automatic deference because they are a Supreme Court Justice? I know our fellow citizens who are lawyers have to struggle daily against the premature onset of pomposity but this matches anything Judith Collins has said for absurdity.

    Actually, yes because in this instance the Supreme Court Justice is from overseas and it’s just good manners. Instead Collins actions were petty and insular. It might have played well with her base but it was just cringeworthy.

    Comment by TerryB — May 6, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

  14. “Collins’ star’s on the wane” Nah, she’s more the super nova type. Hard to see Crusher quietly fading away.

    Comment by rob stowell — May 6, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

  15. One thing journalists know now is that if they tell Collins anything about themselves, in the course of a private conversation, she reserves the right to bring up a distorted version of it 3 or 4 years later as part of a general attack on the media.
    Not too surprising, but good to have it out in the open.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — May 6, 2014 @ 11:21 pm

  16. Erm, no, I don’t think we do need to be nice to people who have screwed up in some major way, just because they’re ‘from overseas’. FWIW I don’t think the Canadian judge did screw up, I just don’t think ‘we should be deferential because they have come from another country’ is really a thing.

    Comment by helenalex — May 7, 2014 @ 8:21 am

  17. Oh my, first the Crusher was being cyberbullied by nasty Twitter trolls and now her “friends” are quietly informing the media that she’s awaiting the results of scary medical tests.

    Comment by Rob — May 7, 2014 @ 8:25 am

  18. “…she’s awaiting the results of scary medical tests…”

    https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQHbC2eKUQRUvUL71Kp6FNyvc1E1iQ3SYbAB6Ws_iApkZz_ryxe

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 7, 2014 @ 8:44 am

  19. publicly dissing a Supreme Court justice from another country is a metric fuckton of rudeness, arrogance and bullying. In other words, archetypal Collins.

    Well, she raised concerns about his report, legitimate concerns it seems. I’d hate to think she should have kowtowed to the former judge simply because he is a former judge. Believe it or not, even judges makes mistakes. It seems Binnie made several important ones.

    Comment by Ross — May 7, 2014 @ 11:10 am

  20. in this instance the Supreme Court Justice is from overseas and it’s just good manners. Instead Collins actions were petty and insular.

    Good manners to defer even when his report contains serious errors? I don’t think so. Collins was right to question the validity of his report. If Binnie took offence, or if you do so on his behalf, I don’t think that is Colins’ problem.

    Comment by Ross — May 7, 2014 @ 11:14 am

  21. I thought Farrar’s spin was really interesting… Nah, just kidding ya all!!!

    He has completely avoided mentioning the issue, a silence as deafening as they come.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 7, 2014 @ 11:45 am

  22. There’s no doubt that Collins is untrustworthy and whatever she says has to be taken with a grant of salt. I can’t see how she can be anything but a liability for the government.

    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2014/05/06/gordon-campbell-on-judith-collins-rest-and-recuperation-leave/

    Comment by Ross — May 7, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

  23. Aesop’s fable of the fox and the stork comes to mind.

    Comment by DeepRed (@DeepRed6502) — May 8, 2014 @ 10:08 am


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