Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Collins 'not worried' by criticism

Judith Collins, left, Pakistan High Commissioner Zehra Akbari, David Cunliffe and Phil Goff at the Pakistan Independence Day celebrations. Photo / Michael Craig
Judith Collins, left, Pakistan High Commissioner Zehra Akbari, David Cunliffe and Phil Goff at the Pakistan Independence Day celebrations. Photo / Michael Craig

Embattled Judith Collins emerged unrepentant yesterday and announced she would not be stepping down after a political week from hell.

Attending a Pakistan Independence Day event at Auckland Girls' Grammar School she brushed aside questions over whether she would resign with a resounding: "Certainly not".

Collins' reputation has taken a battering after revelations in the book Dirty Politics and amid accusations she fast-tracked an OIA request from Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater in just 37 minutes.

Collins has also faced calls for her resignation over her role in passing the name and details of a public servant she suspected of helping Labour in a political attack to Slater.

The minister, who attended the event with Labour leader David Cunliffe and veteran Labour MP Phil Goff, was subject to a media frenzy when she arrived in a chauffeur-driven silver sedan.

She brushed off questions about the OIA controversy and the hacked emails row.

However, after speaking at the event, which was attended by several hundred members of Auckland's Pakistan community, she said: "My office does our very best to get our OIA requests as quickly as possible.

"I also note that two members of the Press Gallery have said I have done the same for them this week."

When pressed about whether her recent troubles would mean her political ambitions to one day lead the National Party were over, Collins was non-committal.

"I have never talked about that. I am here to do the best job that I can," she said. "I always agree with the Prime Minister with everything, I always find that helpful."

She added that recent criticism about her performance "goes with the job. I'm not worried by it".

"This week I have spent a lot of time door-knocking and doing everything I said I would," she added.

Support from her National Party colleagues is believed to have nosedived in recent weeks. But Collins put on a brave face about this too.

"My colleagues have been great. I always have had a lot of good friends and even though I don't agree with everything my friends do, I am always loyal to them."

- Herald on Sunday

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