Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Key sticks with Collins, despite polls

Judith Collins. Photo / File / Ben Fraser
Judith Collins. Photo / File / Ben Fraser

Prime Minister John Key is sticking by his decision to keep Judith Collins on his team, despite polls showing the majority of the public believe she should go.

Mr Key said that could change if there were further developments, but he was still happy with his original decision not to discipline Judith Collins over revelations in the Dirty Politics book that she had sent civil servant Simon Pleasants' details to Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater.

Polls have shown many voters believe she should have resigned over that. Mr Key said he would not be pushed into that.

"I've looked at the best information I had quickly, and the call I've made is that she should stay part of the team. That's my call as Prime Minister. Like any minister, if the situation changes I reserve the right to look at that. But as far as I'm concerned that's the call I've made."

He denied that Ms Collins was holding something over him, saying he balanced up the work a minister had done against their wrongdoing. "Nobody has anything against me.

I have a good team, and I look at the performance she's done and my assessment of that over a 6-year period is on balance it's been a good performance." He said as far as he knew, Ms Collins had always been loyal to him.

Mr Key said he had a good track record in dealing with errant ministers. "Sometimes I've fired ministers, sometimes I've asked ministers to resign, sometimes I've disciplined them. But I don't think anyone could say in the 6 years I've been there that I haven't set standards and dealt with them."

Mr Key said he was not worried about whether she was handling the pressure she was now under.

Asked if it was possible she would be put on stress leave again, as she was during questioning of her over her links to the Oravida company, he said he doubted it.

At that time, Ms Collins was told to take a week's leave after she turned on the media and claimed TVNZ reporter Katie Bradford had asked her to intervene because her partner could not get into Police College. Ms Collins later had to retract that.

- NZ Herald

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