Collins today hit out at allegations by Labour MP Shane Jones that she had been living at the mansion formerly owned by failed finance director Mark Hotchin – now owned by Shi.
She said rumours mentioned today by Jones on RadioLive, that she was living at Shi’s mansion were “defamatory”.
Collins had earlier told Fairfax she and her husband had never stayed at the former Hotchin mansion. Suggestions they had stayed there while their own house was being renovated were wrong.
Jones’ comments were “hurtful”, she said today, but she would not elaborate on what the comments might have meant.
“I’m really disgusted that Shane would do that,” Collins said.
“It’s actually really hurtful. I’ve been to the home that Mr Shi has bought on many occasions because he is a close personal friend and he’s away a lot.
“But I’ve never lived there, I don’t stay there – I’ve been there, and that’s because it’s a very interesting place to go look at.
“I was really disgusted that Shane would do that. I never put the boot into Shane and yet he’s gone and done that.”
Talking to Marcus Lush this morning, Jones alluded to allegations Collins had stayed at the former Hotchin mansion for some time. …
“Grant Robertson is going to continue to dig at this. There’s all sorts of all rumours swirling, does she actually live at Paritai Drive [where the Hotchin mansion is]?
“There’s all sorts of rumours swirling around Wellington that she’s living there.”
It is quite legitimate for the Opposition to ask questions around the trip to China. No issue at all with that. The job of the opposition is to hold the Government to account.
But for a senior Labour MP to start repeating (false) rumours on radio is descending into a personal smear attack. Labour need to be very careful that they don’t over-reach on this one.
UPDATE: Jones has apologised. Good on him for that.