Andrea Vance has written a book called Blue Blood, which has had many extracts from it in the media. I haven’t yet purchased a copy, but plan to. It is about the National Party past John Key.
As always, just because someone says something doesn’t mean it is true. Julie Johnston (Deputy Chief of Staff to Judith Collins) has responded to two claims in the book at Newsroom.
There is no doubt that the problems with the fiscal plan dealt a major blow to the campaign, and I wrote about it at length in my submission to the party’s 2020 election review.
There is only light coverage of the fiscal plan issue in the Vance book but what is said, via an anonymous source, about the timing and origin of the plan, completely misrepresents what actually happened.
Vance pinpoints National’s electric vehicle announcement on September 11, 2020 as a turning point in the campaign and she suggests that it was at this very late stage, that Judith asked for a fiscal plan …
This is totally wrong. The fiscal plan was requested very early in the campaign in late July and early August, well before the EV announcement.
And Julie provides documents to back this up, such as e-mails in early August.
And in relation to the Nick Smith resignation, Julie also notes that the information about media interest in Nick came to a senior staffer from someone who worked with a ex-National staffer who had been involved in the employment investigation, and:
A few weeks after Nick’s resignation, both Richard Harman and Tova O’ Brien, as the most vocal proponents of the “stitch up” or “smoke- out” conspiracy theory, were given the name of the person from the lobby group who had given the information to the National Leader’s Office staffer.
Tova was told in person by me. Richard was told by a mutual acquaintance. I was told that Richard knew the person from the lobby group. Tova said she didn’t know them. If Richard and Tova genuinely believed the whole thing was a stitch-up, they were given the information to get to the bottom of it.
This information from Julie helps set the record straight.