Erica Stanford says she tried to poach the late Fa’anānā Efeso Collins for the National Party

  • 23/02/2024

Erica Stanford has revealed she tried to get the late Fa’anānā Efeso Collins to join the National Party because of how highly she thought of him.

Collins, 49, died suddenly on Wednesday morning after he collapsed during a charity event in Auckland.

Appearing on AM's political panel on Friday, National's Education Minister said she and the Green MP had known each other for decades - even joining student politics at the same time. 

"The thing about Efeso was he brought people together. He was such a lovely human being… He had that incredible ability to just cut through all the politics," Stanford said.

She said prior to Collins moving from the Labour Party to the Greens, she contacted him asking if he'd consider coming to National.

"I did because he just is a guy that wants to get stuff done for his community. He always has, he's always been about service and we would have, well I would have gladly taken him as well," she said.

While Stanford would not reveal what Collins said back to her proposition, she said "he was a lot more open than you might think".

Labour MP Willie Jackson who appeared on the panel alongside Stanford replied his party would have laughed about, but then probably support his decision. 

"You need these types of people who can talk to everyone on both sides of the fence and he had that unique ability," Jackson said.