Duncan Garner: How much longer can Collins be a minister?

16/04/2014

And you thought National had the Maori Party by the balls with an after dinner fundraiser worth a paltry $75k? That’s just small-fry. Check this out.

They’re an exporter called Oravida – you may have heard of them.They have pictures of anyone remotely famous in the National Party peppered though-out their Shanghai office. They love power – the word is they even have a picture of Paddy Gower in the foyer now. They took the one of Aaron Gilmore down when they realised he’d drunk too much and it wasn’t milk. But seriously this is big business – there’s heaps at stake.

They want to get their products into China to make millions of dollars. So they forged a very close relationship with National at all levels. They’re mates with President Peter Goodfellow. They donate to the National Party. They pay to play golf with John Key. It’s prized access. The stuff only money can buy. But not only that. They have appointed the husband of senior Minister Judith Collins to their board. That’s really strategic you see – it buys constant access to decision makers. So they’re close right? You get it eh?

So what can National offer in return?

National offers power – and access to others in power who make crucial decisions. National can smooth the waters in tough times. Like when Fonterra scares the Chinese over the botulism botch-up and all sorts of import barriers are put in place.

So what does Oravida do? It starts to squeeze the vice-like, but paid grip, it has on National’s collective balls. And it has Judith Collins in a chocker hold – via her hubby’s position on their board. Suddenly it has friends in high places that can help – right? You betcha. So last August Oravida requested, through Trade Minister Tim Groser, for NZ Ministers to intervene with the Chinese Government over import barriers.

Then what do we know? Collins is dining with Oravida bosses and a senior Chinese Government border official in a private meeting in China – a meeting she failed to tell anyone about – not her boss, the Prime Minister – nor did she declare it in her full Cabinet report on her Chinese trip. She tried to tell us she just popped in to taste milk. Now we know the truth about all this. Oravida requested the Government jump – and Ministers – with nothing to do with this portfolio area – like Collins – screamed ‘how high’? She’s the Justice Minister isn’t she? Minister don’t step into other areas – it’s a written and unwritten code.

But here’s my view and for Collins it’s got worse. Collins has over-stepped the mark and she should be gone – I said it last month I say it again. But she’s safe – for now. Because Key and National are similarly close to Oravida. She’s a senior Minister and Key is reluctant to sack her – because National across the board is in boots and all with Oravida. This is about National and their cronies. But let’s call this for what it is. Collins has never told us the full truth from the start. This exporter has had preferential treatment from this Minister and this Government. Other companies don’t get this sort of red-carpet treatment and access. And why did they get such red-carpet treatment? Because they have paid for it. They donated to National, they paid for games of golf with the PM and they put Collins’s husband on the board. This might be how the Chinese do things. But not here. This not only smells fishy – but it’s plain rotten. And the PM knows it – so when does he cut his losses – after the next revelation or now?

source: data archive