Government needs to work out ‘who’s in charge’ – Judith Collins

The AM Show 14/09/2018

A Labour MP has defended the political workings of the coalition Government following criticism over which party is really leading the pack.

"This Government is not the same as the previous Government," new Minister of Broadcasting Kris Faafoi told The AM Show on Friday.

"The previous Government had a lion and a lamb, and when the lion said 'jump', the lamb said, 'How high?' In this Government we've got more than one lion, and we have agreed… to a whole lot of stuff. And if we want to do other things, instead of answering 'how high'… we say, 'Why should we jump? Let's have a discussion about those kinds of things.'"

Critics of the Government have latched onto disagreements between Labour and NZ First, the two parties which make up the formal coalition, over issues such as the refugee quota and justice reform.

National MP Judith Collins, perhaps unsurprisingly, is one of those critics.

We've got Winston Peters off the reservation on various issues...

"The party needs to actually work out who's in charge," she told The AM Show. "As Kris says, there's three lions there - which one of them's the big daddy lion?"

She said it's clearly NZ First leader Winston Peters.

"It's really great that Jacinda's going to dump all her TV bookings for this weekend so she can do a speech on Sunday to tell us all what's happening… We've got Winston Peters off the reservation on various issues, the Greens off on the other side and we've got Jacinda in the middle, saying: 'What the hell is going on here?'"

Ms Ardern was due to appear on Three's Newshub Nation and TVNZ's Q+A this weekend, but pulled out of both, her press secretary claiming it was a "simple diary issue". National leader Simon Bridges will appear on Newshub Nation in her place.

Mr Faafoi said instead Ms Ardern will deliver a speech to outline what the Government has achieved in its first year, and "what we intend to do for the next 24 months and hopefully beyond".

Clare Curran's resignation last week saw Mr Faafoi pick up the broadcasting portfolio. While Ms Curran was a member of Cabinet, Mr Faafoi has been left outside, with Cabinet shrinking to 19 with Ms Curran's demotion.

Ms Collins said if Mr Faafoi wants to take Ms Curran's spot in Cabinet, he knows what he has to do.

"Kris just has to become a woman and he'll get into Cabinet - that's the problem, you see? I've told him what he has to do. I don't know if he's prepared to do it."

Mr Faafoi didn't respond to Ms Collins' suggestion.

Cabinet is currently made up of 13 men and only six women. National's top 20-ranked MPs include nine women. Bill English's final Cabinet line-up had seven, as did the present Cabinet before Ms Curran's resignation.

Watch the full panel with Judith Collins and Kris Faafoi above.

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