Collins resigns

The Herald reports:

Judith Collins will lose her job in a matter of hours, the Herald understands.

Prime Minister John Key has changed his plans today in order to give a special media stand-up at 12.30pm.

Collins’ resignation comes after evidence emerged in the past 24 hours of her role in moves to discredit former SFO boss Adam Feeley.

It’s understood she has resigned in a bid to clear her name without damaging the election campaign.

My understanding is that there is no evidence that Judith Collins did do anything to discredit or pass on information about Adam Feeley. The e-mail is second hand, with someone else saying that Judith said she’ll pass on any information she has. As I have said many times in the past, taking everything said in e-mails between friends as a literal statement of the truth, rather than a mixture of bravado and exaggeration, is dangerous.

But kudos to Judith for apparently resigning, to stop this ongoing saga. A very very difficult call I am sure. My thoughts are with her. While the last six months has been a torrid time for Judith, I do think people will recall she achieved a huge amount as a Minister for five and a half years as Police, Corrections, ACC and  Justice Minister.

Judith Collins has announced:

This morning I informed the Prime Minister that I am resigning as a Minister from Cabinet.

A new allegation has come to light from an email conversation from 2011 between Cameron Slater and others suggesting I was undermining the then Director of the Serious Fraud Office. I was not party to this email or discussion and have only today been made aware of it.

“I absolutely and strongly deny this and any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour.  I am restrained in clearing my name while I am still a Minister inside Cabinet and I believe the right thing to do is to resign as a Minister so I am able to clear my name.

I have asked the Prime Minister for an Inquiry into these serious allegations so that my name can be cleared. I will, of course, cooperate with any Inquiry.”

“The Election should be focused on the issues that matter such as law and order, health, education and the economy and I do not want this matter to be a distraction for the Prime Minister or the National Party during the campaign.

“I am a strong advocate for the people of Papakura and I will continue to put the same passion and energy into representing them.

“I am getting on with my job as MP for Papakura and will campaign strongly for re-election this year.

The PM has said:

Prime Minister John Key today announced that Hon Judith Collins has resigned from Cabinet.

Mr Key says the resignation of Ms Collins followed the receipt of new information that raises allegations about Ms Collins’ conduct as a Minister.

“The relationship between a Minister and their Chief Executive is vital, and goes right to the heart of a trusted, effective government.

“This new information suggests Ms Collins may have been engaged in discussions with a blogger in 2011 aimed at undermining the then Director of the Serious Fraud Office. Ms Collins was the Minister responsible for the SFO at the time.

Mr Key released an email which had been recently been provided to his office.

“I have spoken with Ms Collins about the matters in the email, and she strongly denies any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour on her part.

“Ms Collins accepts these are serious allegations and that resigning as a Minister is the honourable step to take in these circumstances.

Mr Key says Ms Collins resignation takes effect immediately, and Hon Christopher Finlayson will be Acting Minister of Justice, Hon Craig Foss will be Acting Minister for ACC, and Hon Hekia Parata will be Acting Minister for Ethnic Affairs. 


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