There is no probative evidence that Ms Collins undermined or attempted to undermine Mr Feeley. The implication that she was so involved is untenable.
I always thought this would be the case.
The report is a fascinating read. If you have the time, read it. It is very comprehensive. Judith Collins allowed a contractor on behalf of the inquiry to search through all her electronic records over many years.
I am pleased for Judith that she has been cleared. They were very serious allegations.
The inevitable question is whether she becomes a Minister again. As the PM has said, there is no vacancy at the moment. But inevitable there will be reshuffles during the term, and I think her record of achievements in various portfolios speaks for itself and she should return to the ministry when there is a vacancy.
A couple of media have focused on Cathy Odgers not being required to give evidence in person. Well she would have if required, but she sent in an extensive 7,500 or so brief of evidence that the Commission found satisfactory. Also slanted media attacks by journalists trying to defend their own involvement were probably prejudicial against her. It is worth people recalling that the inquiry did find that journalists at the Herald were sharing information with Whale Oil, specifically so he could attack Feeley – so I don’t think they have a moral high ground on this.
Also of interest in the report is how much of the attacks on Feeley were coming from his own staff or ex-staff, resentful at his restructuring. This was very unprofessional of them – and one of them was even prosecuted for forging a purported e-mail from Feeley.