Judith Collins dismisses 'nasty' interpretation of comment about people wanting to 'bottle' Police Minister Poto Williams

National leader Judith Collins says a comment she made about people wanting to "bottle" Police Minister Poto Williams has been taken out of context in a "nasty" way. 

Collins made the remark during a visit to the Kerikeri Bowling Club in the Far North, according to NZ Herald senior reporter David Fisher, who attended the event. 

"I think a lot of people want to bottle her," Collins said during a spiel on Williams not being strong enough on crime. Collins then clarified what she meant was to keep Williams in a bottle like a genie, according to Fisher

Williams, who Collins has described as the "worst Police Minister she's ever seen", says the comment about people wanting to "bottle" her has made her daughter feel upset. 

"The thing for me is that we are public people, we live public lives, and we have an expectation that our work will be critiqued. In this case, my daughter feels unsafe for me, and that is not on," Williams told reporters on Tuesday. 

"For me, I want to provide assurance for all parliamentarians that the work that they do is really important, and that we should do that free of any kind of abuse.

"I'm not an angry person and I don't feel any anger over this, but I just feel a bit of distress for those parliamentarians for whom this kind of thing has happened in the past."

Collins says the comments have been misinterpreted to Williams' daughter. 

"Someone's obviously given her that information and given it and spun it the wrong way and in a very incorrect way. That's actually disgraceful that anyone would do that," Collins told reporters. 

"It's really wrong for people to completely take something out of context and I think you'll remember that David Fisher was very clear that I didn't mean that, so I think that is very nasty for someone to do that."

Police Minister Poto Williams.
Police Minister Poto Williams. Photo credit: Newshub

Collins explained what she meant by the remarks about Williams. 

"She is someone who pops up every now and again with a completely stupid view about something and I actually think she's the worst Police Minister I've ever seen.

"I think she was somebody who could be put into a little bottle like a genie and pop out. That's what I meant."

Williams says Collins needs to choose her words more carefully. 

"I think Judith Collins just really needs to think about what she says before she says it. I'm sure that if somebody said that to her, her family would be feeling the same way.

"I felt quite shocked, but for me it's the reaction and response my family are feeling unsafe for me that's causing me distress. Any of our families should not have to feel the way my daughter and my grandchildren do."

Williams' refusal to back arming police over concerns for Māori and Pacific communities being targeted, led Collins last month to call for her sacking. And with gang numbers increasing, Collins ramped up her attacks last week

National leader Judith Collins.
National leader Judith Collins. Photo credit: Newshub

"I've never seen such a weak Minister of Police," she told Magic Talk. "Poto Williams is a total, total embarrassment. I'm getting police officers contacting me telling me how they feel totally unsupported by this Government."

Williams told Newshub Nation the National Gang List is "not something that's useful in terms of really establishing" the gang picture in New Zealand. 

"It's incredibly easy to get on the [gang] list because the police identify someone wearing a patch and so their name goes onto this database. But if people leave the gangs - and so many people are - it's very, very hard for police on the street to identify when someone's left."

Williams also rejected the notion Labour is soft on gangs by signing off nearly $3 million to a rehab programme run by Hard 2 Reach, a trust co-directed by Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam. 

"We are funding a programme that has been shown to work. We are not funding the gangs. I don't know how much clearer I can be."