Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Most voters in abandoned poll wanted Collins gone

Judith Collins. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Judith Collins. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A poll taken before Judith Collins resigned from the Cabinet last week suggests that a majority of voters, even then, did not want her back as a minister if National was to be re-elected on September 20.

The Herald-DigiPoll survey asked what Prime Minister John Key should do with Judith Collins if National won a third term. The response: 51.6 per cent said give her no ministerial role; 25.5 per cent said give her a less senior role than she had; and only 12.6 per cent thought she should keep the Justice portfolio or a similarly senior role.

The question was asked as part of the regular DigiPoll election survey but was stopped after she resigned on Saturday. By then, only 350 people had been polled, fewer than half of the 750 voters in the fuller poll.

She resigned after Prime Minister John Key received a 2011 email from Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, a close friend of Ms Collins, which said she was "gunning" for Adam Feeley, who was head of the Serious Fraud Office at the time and answerable to her.

The email appears to refer to an alleged campaign to discredit Mr Feeley run by Mr Slater and public relations consultant Carrick Graham on behalf of former Hanover Finance director Mark Hotchin, whose affairs were at the time subject to an SFO investigation.

Ms Collins' association with Mr Slater was a focus of Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics, which he wrote from a stack of Mr Slater's hacked emails. The book revealed that Ms Collins had sent Mr Slater details of a public servant she believed had leaked information that was damaging to National and who was later subjected to death threats by commenters on the Whale Oil blog.

Another DigiPoll question suggested voters are split about whether the hacking was justified: 46.6 per cent said no illegal hacking could be justified; 40.8 per cent said they did not approve of hacking but it turned out to be in the public interest; and 6.4 per cent said they totally approved of it.

- NZ Herald

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