Key won't investigate Collins claims

  • 15/08/2014

Prime Minister John Key says he probably won't look into allegations made about senior cabinet minister Judith Collins in Nicky Hager's new book.

An entire chapter of Dirty Politics is dedicated the relationship between Ms Collins and WhaleOil blogger Slater, who are close friends.

Mr Hager alleges Ms Collins fed a "continuous supply of material to Slater", including press releases, political gossip, tip-offs and serious leaks.

Labour says it's time the Prime Minister held Ms Collins to account over what it calls the misuse of ministerial power.

But asked whether he will look into the allegations any further, Mr Key said: "She's utterly refuted them, so unless I have particularly good reason, probably not".

He's not going to stand her down either.

"I believe Mr Hager's making assumptions he can't back up."

Ms Collins told NewstalkZB most of what's said about her in Dirty Politics is an "utter lie".

The most serious allegations detailed in the book relate to the leaking of information about high-profile ACC claimant Bronwyn Pullar, who in 2012 mistakenly received thousands of sensitive ACC files.

Mr Hager quotes emails sent by Slater to a friend who was concerned her file was among those caught up in the privacy breach.

The emails were sent before Ms Pullar's name was leaked to the media, but they suggest Slater spoke to Ms Collins - who was then ACC minister - about it and she revealed sensitive details about departmental business.

Mr Hager goes on to suggest Ms Collins may have been behind the leak of information to the media.

Ms Collins said this is a "complete lie".

"The Privacy Commissioner forensically investigated me over two years ago and cleared me," she said.

Ms Collins also denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, a prisoner transfer requested by Mr Slater in 2010 and in any case was precluded in intervening as Corrections Minister.

Labour's Grant Robertson says Mr Key's inaction over the allegations against Ms Collins is telling New Zealanders that this is acceptable behaviour.

"He needs to take some responsibility for her actions and follow through on the many warnings he has given Judith Collins". 

The allegations against Collins

  • She discussed details of the Bronwyn Pullar ACC case with Mr Slater and she may have been behind the leak;
  • She fed Mr Slater a constant stream of gossip, for example, anecdotes about Labour MP Trevor Mallard making a fool of himself;
  • She may have been involved in a prisoner transfer requested by Mr Slater, while she was Corrections Minister;
  • She emailed Mr Slater the name of a ministerial services staff member who he went on to attack on his blog.


source: newshub archive