Discussing the Judith Collins-visit-to-Oravida story in a previous post I wrote:
It’s not a stepping-down-as-Minister offense. It’s one of those things where Key says, ‘She’s been cleared by the Cabinet Office but I’d remind all Ministers to be careful not to create the perception of a conflict of interest.’ Story over.
Story over! Unless, of course, the Justice Minister had additional contact with the company but didn’t reveal this to the Prime Minister or the Cabinet Office. But that would just be out of the – Whoa! Wait! What’s this?
Prime Minister John Key is disappointed Justice Minister Judith Collins withheld details of a dinner in China with a company linked to her husband.
The dinner was with senior members of Oravida, a company that deals with New Zealand dairy products, and a senior Chinese government official. Collins’ husband David Wong Tung is a director of the company.
A spokeswoman for Key said today that the prime minister met Collins this morning to express his disappointment that she did not tell him about the dinner.
Key said he considered the cumulative effects of her interaction with Oravida could give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.
So this IS a stepping-down-as-Minister offense, or rather a ‘PMs Chief of Staff asks Collins to step down, she does so and the PM accepts’ offense. But no Prime Minister wants to publicly sack one of their most senior Ministers two days after declaring an election and Collins isn’t the type of person to admit She is in the wrong and step down for the good of the party, just because Her failure to do so might result in months of negative headlines, inflict damage on the government and jeopardise its election chances.