The Dim-Post

March 14, 2014

Collins’ policy record

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 11:36 am

Judith Collins has been under fire this week and part of the Prime Minister’s defense of his MP has been her amazing prior performance as a Minister. And I think there’s something to that. Collins was one of the most media-genic Police and Corrections Ministers we’ve ever had. Crushing cars of boy-racers. Using shipping containers to house prisoners. Smoking bans in prisons. Rolling out tasers to police. National’s extraordinary first-term long media honeymoon was partly down to Collins and her tough-on crime rhetoric and daft but camera-friendly policy solutions.

But for the last three years Collins has been Minister of Justice. And if you look back through the news archives she’s been a pretty crappy Justice Minister.

  • She caved on implementing the Law Commission’s recommendations on alcohol reform when the liquor industry lobbied the government.
  • She’s being sued by David Bain for a judicial review of her botched handling of the Binnie report into his compensation.
  • She ditched the MMP review claiming that the parties couldn’t reach consensus on it because she refused to negotiate with any of the other parties.
  • She’s refused to consider a pardon in the Teina Pora case despite very convincing evidence of his innocence.

And its hard to find any positives to balance any of that out. She wants police to wear cameras which is a good idea, I guess.

Collins’ rival for the post-Key National leadership is Steven Joyce, who is also struggling. Novopay still isn’t fixed. The Sky City convention center is still a toxic disaster. None of the surveys for minerals or oil or gas ever find anything, and that’s Joyce’s one big plan to fix our economy. But at least he’s doing stuff even if none of it works out. Collins’ reputation as a tough super-Minister seems like a relic of her governments’ first term with nothing in her subsequent performance as Justice Minister to substantiate it.

47 Comments »

  1. iPredict now says that SImon Bridges is Joyce’s competition for next leader https://www.ipredict.co.nz/app.php?do=browse&cat=155.

    For all its talk of “rejuvenation”, the National caucus is terrifyingly short on talent.

    Comment by pete — March 14, 2014 @ 11:54 am

  2. Well, they have someone bright to look towards: some Fonterra exec named Muller is now a candidate.

    Which only leaves the question – why did Ryall resign after he was announced as candidate for Bay of Plenty?

    Comment by George — March 14, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

  3. Happy to go through the Law Comm report on booze with you sometime over a beer, Danyl. It was atrocious. The evidential base for its recommendations around pricing was shocking. It’s to Collins’s credit that she didn’t adopt it.

    More to the point, do you really think that industry lobbying was the main thing stopping National from massive tax hikes on alcohol? If Key is Mr Median Voter guy, isn’t the way more plausible explanation that he couldn’t push through a bunch of booze tightening after he’d just stomped all over tobacco and after he’d just won by campaigning on “Labour’s Nanny State Sucks”?

    Comment by Eric Crampton (@EricCrampton) — March 14, 2014 @ 12:10 pm

  4. “…Collins’ reputation as a tough super-Minister seems like a relic of her governments’ first term with nothing in her subsequent performance as Justice Minister to substantiate it…”

    Careful, or you might have her close to tears, you big meanie you.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 14, 2014 @ 12:10 pm

  5. “Collins’ rival for the post-Key National leadership is Steven Joyce”

    shouldnt that be “post key faux-leadership, really its steven joyce, but hes so offputting he stays in the background – is steven joyce”?

    Comment by framu — March 14, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

  6. iPredict now says that SImon Bridges is Joyce’s competition for next leader

    I spoke to an MBIEr a while back who bemoaned Bridges arrogance, particularly his ability to completely ignore statute and convention when making off the cuff decisions – a gift for a former Crown prosecutor I would imagine – and then leaving his senior staffers to waste time and resources repeatedly briefing him on why his brainwaves are illegal.

    A shoe in for the top job I would imagine.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 14, 2014 @ 12:31 pm

  7. Collins has not refused to consider a pardon for Teina Pora. Rather, Teina Pora has not asked for a pardon to be considered.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — March 14, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

  8. As a plasterer for many years, I admire the way Ms Collins applies her make-up.

    Comment by f dx — March 14, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

  9. So two premises down within eight comments…

    The fact she is being sued by Bain is a big tick in my book. That’s one she has got dead right. Note that it was Simon Power who is to blame. Collins was clearing up his commissioning mess.

    Comment by insider — March 14, 2014 @ 2:09 pm

  10. And the Police got dead wrong.

    Comment by f dx — March 14, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

  11. We need to chip in to employ someone to fact-check Danyl’s blog posts for accuracy before they go public. This is embarrassing.

    Comment by Peter Plumley-Walker — March 14, 2014 @ 2:57 pm

  12. To be fair, Danyl is just another partisan blogger – if we’re fact checking him, we should be fact checking all the others.

    Comment by Andrew M — March 14, 2014 @ 3:41 pm

  13. she also ignored the recommendations on changing the trial system for sexual violence crimes. http://www.nzfvc.org.nz/node/765 Even though the system is spectacularly failing almost all victims. Not really very ballsy…

    Comment by Amy — March 14, 2014 @ 4:00 pm

  14. Premises on alcohol law reform has not been knocked over.

    Eric Crampton, we are all well aware that the report considered costs without accounting for “benefits”, as crudely as you measure them.

    It is highly plausible that the 2 big alcohol companies in NZ pulled a stand over on Collins, who when faced with facing down someone not poor or brown, promptly wet herself.

    Her policies as Police Minister were basically sourced from talk back radio and implemented for television. Now faced with a substantive and important administrative portfolio, Justice, she is out of her depth.

    Comment by Michael — March 14, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

  15. The fact she is being sued by Bain is a big tick in my book. That’s one she has got dead right.

    Well, there’s a difference between “not doing what Binney said” and “treating Binney’s report in such a dismissive and one-sided manner that it opens the Government to legal risk”. You can be in favour of the first without thinking that the second was such a good idea. It is, after all, your tax-dollars that are being spent … .

    I think part of Collins’ “problem” is that Justice is a much, much harder portfolio to put a stamp on. The issues are bigger and more complex, and the “stakeholders” are harder to wrangle into line compared to police and prisons.

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 14, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

  16. “I think part of Collins’ “problem” is that Justice is a much, much harder portfolio to put a stamp on. ”

    Especially when she basically operated as ‘Minister for Police’, rather than ‘of Police’. Which made it that much easier.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 14, 2014 @ 6:57 pm

  17. She wants police to wear cameras which is a good idea, I guess.

    A good enough idea it can forgive a lot of other nonsense. It is evident from experience in multiple jurisdictions it improves interactions with authority all round, improving public behaviour by citizens and police officers together and reducing all the costs from conflict that does not occur.
    I could live with a minster otherwise ineffectual for a few years to get that.

    Comment by Fentex — March 14, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

  18. Do we now consider Bill English too much yesterday’s man to succeed Key?

    Anyway, I have a feeling that, even if Collins doesn’t resign over this Oravida thing, it may have damaged her too much to allow her to take over the leadership.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 14, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

  19. “… it may have damaged her too much to allow her to take over the leadership…”

    Damn. As a particularly revolting Tory she would have been divisive and polarising as leader of National, Labour would romp home against her.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 14, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

  20. Do we now consider Bill English too much yesterday’s man to succeed Key?

    Bill English, yesterdays man since losing in 2002

    Comment by andy (the other one) — March 14, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

  21. Do we now consider Bill English too much yesterday’s man to succeed Key?

    Yes.

    More to the point, that’s how he views himself, what with his categorically ruling out running for leadership again and deciding to go list only (you can’t be party leader and only be on the list … it’s a rule … don’t ask why, it just is).

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 14, 2014 @ 8:22 pm

  22. Oh, I didn’t know he’d gone list only. Well, yeah, I guess that clears that up.

    I have always had the impression that Key would personally prefer it if Joyce took over for him, but I’m not sure if it will be easy to transfer his popularity to Joycey.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 14, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

  23. The recidivism rate is,assively down, huge expansion of drug and alcohol treatment in prisons, 80% increase in people leaving prison with qualifications. Despite her public persona she has been the most progressive justice/corrections minister this country has seen in decades. She has encouraged/forced the construction industry in Christchurch to take on ex prisoners.
    ACC which was near insolvent after Labour turned it into a social agency to a point where it’s extortionant premiums have been reduced to a level where it’s not even a market where the private sector fear to tread.
    You lefties hate her as she projects Thatcherism, have a look behind the persona and look at the achievements dispassionately.

    Comment by David — March 14, 2014 @ 9:40 pm

  24. She has encouraged/forced the construction industry in Christchurch to take on ex prisoners.

    That’s Tolley’s baby. And like everything that nincompoop touches it’s a bloody fiasco.

    Comment by Joe W — March 14, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

  25. I have always had the impression that Key would personally prefer it if Joyce took over for him, but I’m not sure if it will be easy to transfer his popularity to Joycey.

    I think this is right.

    Despite her public persona she has been the most progressive justice/corrections minister this country has seen in decades.

    Urrrrmmmm …. because she’s followed through on some of the stuff that Simon Power initiated?

    In 2009 we brought experts together to look at the underlying causes of crime. That meeting helped shape the Government’s new approach to reducing crime, reoffending and victimisation.

    Crime is not simply a Justice issue – it requires a coordinated approach across Government agencies and within communities.

    In November 2009, Cabinet agreed that ‘Addressing the Drivers of Crime’ would become an across-Government priority.

    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/alcohol-and-other-drug-treatment-court-aodt-pilot-launch

    To be fair, but … she’s followed through on some of the stuff that Simon Power initiated.

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 14, 2014 @ 10:12 pm

  26. Isn’t Simon Bridges stupid? Just saying.

    Comment by Tim — March 15, 2014 @ 1:21 am

  27. #23: “ACC which was near insolvent after Labour turned it into a social agency to a point where it’s extortionant premiums have been reduced to a level where it’s not even a market where the private sector fear to tread.”

    The whole ‘insolvent ACC’ thing was concocted as an excuse to turn it into just another insurance company, and bow genuine claimants are getting fobbed off even more than before. Remind me again why insurance claims for Fukushima got sorted out a lot quicker than in ChCh?

    Comment by deepred — March 15, 2014 @ 2:04 am

  28. Judith Collins also pulled the reviewing of Taser camera footage which is recorded when Tasers are used by police. Something that would have prevented possible abuses with these devices.

    Comment by hellonearthis — March 15, 2014 @ 7:16 am

  29. @27 because only 10% of property was insured, most of the damage was total so easily quantified and the lucky people in Fukishima don’t have a typically useless government department buggaring things up like EQC and now Southern Response are.

    Comment by David — March 15, 2014 @ 8:59 am

  30. David, perhaps we should have passed a special law giving one Minister unprecedented powers to help cut through the red tape and get shit done then eh?

    And on the ACC thing, further to deepred’s comment, Collins was described as being livid with Nick Smith when she found finally realised that nah, she wouldn’t be privatising ACC. She wished he hadn’t lowered levies; so it’s kinda hard* to give her any credit at all on that score.

    *for a definition of ‘hard’ that reads: ‘Really fucking dishonest lol, brazen, even’

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 15, 2014 @ 11:53 am

  31. Careful, Danyl. You are starting to sound like those guys on the right who were obsessive who about Helen.

    Comment by Tinakori — March 15, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

  32. Careful, Danyl. You are starting to sound like those guys on the right who were obsessive who about Helen.

    Yeah … nah. The day Danyl starts “innocent facing” about why Collins’ has no children, casts aspersions on David Wong-Tung’s sexuality and puts up three successive posts discussing whether she’s had botox treatment, then you’ll have a comparison to make. Until then, she’s just a wounded fish that the sharks want a bit of.

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 15, 2014 @ 4:08 pm

  33. The day Danyl starts “innocent facing” about why Collins’ has no children, casts aspersions on David Wong-Tung’s sexuality and puts up three successive posts discussing whether she’s had botox treatment

    Or puts up billboards around Wellington comparing her to Stalin and Mao. Another blogger did that.

    Comment by George — March 15, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

  34. Or puts up billboards around Wellington comparing her to Stalin and Mao. Another blogger did that.

    But let’s be fair. That was “humorous”. Hell, if the guilty party could’ve tweeted it back then, he’d have stuck a “smiley face” emoticon next to it.

    You can tell because when his party basically re-enacted the same laws three years later he … well, that joke wasn’t funny anymore. Certainly not funny enough to bother with any billboards or anything so crass. Moving on … .

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 16, 2014 @ 1:04 am

  35. @Flashing Light: He also got extremely self-righteous when somebody compared John Key to Mussolini.

    That’s DPF’s philosophy – anything goes if it’s humorous, but he views himself as an unimpeachable authority on what’s humorous. If he says it is, then it’s all good, and if he says it’s not, then he will be up on his high horse in a flash.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 16, 2014 @ 5:19 am

  36. He also got extremely self-righteous when somebody compared John Key to Mussolini.

    Not even Mussolini – it was enough to dare to suggest Key was like Muldoon!
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2013/06/why_did_norman_go_nasty.html

    That’s DPF’s philosophy – anything goes if it’s humorous, but he views himself as an unimpeachable authority on what’s humorous.

    In spite of evidence to the contrary … http://thestandard.org.nz/sick-3/.

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 16, 2014 @ 10:15 am

  37. @Flashing Light: Right? He even refused to apologise, just saying he had a ‘dark sense of humour’. But making jokes about Key being like Mussolini – that’s not dark, that’s just WRONG.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 16, 2014 @ 11:00 am

  38. She’s being sued by David Bain for a judicial review of her botched handling of the Binnie report into his compensation.

    There’s considerable evidence to suggest Bain murdered five members of his family. Do you think he should be compensated?

    Comment by Ross — March 16, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

  39. Eric Crampton, Graeme Edgeler, David and Ross …all representatives of the reality-based community. Its sure starting to look like an obsession to me, Danyl. Obsession takes many forms and, given the subject is Judith Collins, there may be unresolved oedipal issues mixed in with the political ones.

    Comment by Tinakori — March 17, 2014 @ 9:47 am

  40. Poor Tinakori, So tetchy, so disappointingly tetchy. Still, a cup of tea and a biscuit may lighten your gloom prospect. Off you go!

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 17, 2014 @ 9:54 am

  41. A fairer comment is that Collins has done some good work but that she was also pretty arrogant in not declaring a conflict of interest. She compounded the problem by showing no contrition and lying by omission to the PM.

    I also recall that when she was in Opposition she signed a petition in support of a commission of inquiry into the Peter Ellis case. You never hear her mention that case now.

    Comment by Ross — March 17, 2014 @ 10:04 am

  42. She’s being sued by David Bain

    I think that’s incorrect. Bain wants a Judicial Review. He is not suing her.

    Comment by Ross — March 17, 2014 @ 10:06 am

  43. She has in some ways been a more moderate minister of justice than Simon Power was. He revoked the defence of provocation in a kneejerk fashion after the Clayton Weatherston case, even though it wasn’t actually successful in that instance, and over advice that it is an important defence in domestic abuse cases. And he began the screwing up of the legal aid system, though Collins has continued that particular shambles. She’s handled a few things pretty clunkily, such as the advice on Bain, but she’s not a disaster. I think she’s a mediocre minister of justice, not stellar, but not appalling either.

    Comment by Dr Foster — March 17, 2014 @ 11:54 am

  44. Your mileage may vary obviously, Dr, but I reckon when a MIn Justice takes to twitter to accuse citizens of being pro child abuse when they question the civil libertry aspects of an ill thought out law change, that’s pretty shit.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 17, 2014 @ 12:03 pm

  45. @Sanc: You’ve done a pretty solid line in doom and gloom yourself, you know.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 17, 2014 @ 12:03 pm

  46. @Sanc: You’ve done a pretty solid line in doom and gloom yourself

    You reckon? Last I looked it was all giant orbital studly-dude tofu-free power stations were gonna save us all.

    Comment by Joe W — March 17, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

  47. True PB, I’d forgotten that episode, which is indeed pretty nasty. And her tone and use of twitter is often deeply unpleasant and personal. She’s clearly a rather nasty bully, but I still think that in policy terms she’s neither spectacularly good or bad.

    Mind you, if the next leadership battle for National is between her and Joyce, then the personal mudslinging between two bullies is going to be highly entertaining.

    Comment by Dr Foster — March 17, 2014 @ 1:16 pm


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