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Judith Collins resignation: Latest updates

Judith Collins has resigned, effective immediately.

Read more:
Judith Collins resigns
The email that brought down Judith Collins
Statement from Judith Collins
John Armstrong: Key has removed a weeping sore from Nat campaign

Here today's updates:

5:45pm: Former Serious Fraud Officer boss Adam Feeley tonight said he did not believe his position was undermined by any government minister, including Judith Collins.

"In my years as a public servant I have worked for a number of Ministers of various Governments. I strived to ensure, and believe that I had, entirely professional and constructive working relationships with all of those Ministers," said Feeley in a statement.

He said throughout his time as chief executive he believed the work of the SFO always enjoyed the support and respect of the Government.

"I have not seen the emails in question, and do not intend to make any comment on them at this time" he said. (Herald on Sunday)

5:40pm: Columnist Fran O'Sullivan says, "the inference in Cameron Slater's email that blogger and lawyer Cathy Odgers had any influence over that column is risible."

5:30pm: Reporter Jared Savage writes about his emails with Whale Oil - "This sometimes happens with journalistic sources and it's naive to think otherwise. In total, I wrote six stories about the Feeley/champagne issue and Slater was not the source for any of them. I didn't know that our conversations about Feeley were being shared with others, like PR man Carrick Graham - and that was naive of me to think otherwise."

4:40pm: A file cartoon by Rod Emmerson

4pm: Listen to the audio of Judith Collins officially resigning.

3:30pm: Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater says he "embellished" references to Judith Collins in a damning leaked email that lead to her resignation as a minister today.

The caustic blogger again blamed the left wing and media for Collins' downfall. It was not his fault, he said.

"No I've not proved the downfall for my good mate's career. A criminal hacker mounting a political conspiracy to subvert our democracy and undermine our election has done that and the media and all of you are complicit."

He was "talking up a big game" when he emailed that Collins was "gunning" for Serious Fraud Office director Adam Feeley.

He said it was not lying.

"Embellished is a good word. It's better than a lie, isn't it?"

Slater also said the email was sent a year before Feeley resigned.

"If Judith Collins was gunning for somebody she'd have got them." (Herald on Sunday)

3:12pm: Update from Herald editor-in chief Tim Murphy, NZ Herald editor Shayne Currie:

"Two big stories the NZ Herald broke regarding Adam Feeley in 2011 were independent of Whale Oil, and sourced from other contacts. It was good journalism, and in the public interest.

"Reporters will have conversations with contacts from all sides of the political spectrum every day - it's our job to be fully aware of the source and their motivation, verify the information, and present it in a fair, accurate and balanced manner.

"Whale Oil was one of a number of people Jared Savage spoke to as the issue rolled on, to find out what he knew. Some information would have been shared, but none of it, in our view, pivotal or relevant to our inquiries."

3:10pm: Columnist John Armstrong says Collins' forced resignation should help shift the election back in National's favour.

"What Key has done is swiftly exercise prime ministerial fiat and removed what had become National's weeping sore in this election. And that is absolutely crucial. The public wanted Collins gone. And finally she has."

3pm: When contacted by the Herald, Mr Feeley said he had no comment to make at this stage.

Cathy Odgers, who is named in Mr Slater's email, also said she had no comment to make.
Carrick Graham, one of the email's recipients, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Derek Cheng, NZ Herald)

2.40pm: Watch a video of Prime Minister John Key's announcement here.

2pm: The Wikipedia page for Judith Collins has been changed to reflect today's resignation.

2pm: A few hundred anti-Government protesters at a gathering at Aotea Square in Auckland today cheered and jeered as it was announced Justice Minister Judith Collins had resigned.

Robert Reid from First Union told the crowd: "Judith Collins has gone. In a few days we want another gone. And on September 20, we want them all gone."

Rallies were held in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin to oppose National's attacks on workers, abuse of the environment, inequality, cronyism and dirty politics.


Anti-Government signs in Aotea Square

Protest signs in Auckland reflected a wide range of issues, from GE free Aotearoa to the TPPA, Housing NZ, foreign land purchases, the Syrian conflict and the endangered Maui dolphin.

Among the crowd braving the incessant rain was colourful Johnny Cool, 62, a self-described "vagabond pirate".

"I'm here because it's time to get rid of the Government," he said. "Even the pirates don't want this lot." (by Edward Rooney, Herald on Sunday)

1:45pm: Judith Collins addresses the media, saying she wants to defend her name and calling the campaign "distressing and disappointing."

Collins said she'd been "the subject of a two year smear campaign."

She said she was today shown contents of an email between blogger Cameron Slater and others, where it was inferred Collins was trying to remove Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley.

An indignant Collins said she rejected any suggestion she was gunning for Feeley.

Collins said she asked the Prime Minister to convene an enquiry. She promised to co-operate with the enquiry.

Collins said her decision to quit would allow Key to focus on the election campaign.

"This has been an extremely distressing and disappointing time."

She left without taking any questions.

She said it was her decision to quit.

Collins said Feeley was an excellent chief executive.

Collins said the State Services Commissioner had investigated and could "see nothing untoward."

Collins said she would now focus on winning re-election as the MP for Papakura.

1pm: Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater would not comment when the Herald on Sunday visited his Flat Bush home just after Prime Minister John Key's press conference.

12:30pm: Judith Collins releases a statement confirming her resignation "This morning I informed the Prime Minister that I am resigning as a Minister from Cabinet."

12:30pm - Prime Minister John Key's office confirms Collins' resignation, and releases a copy of the email.

12:19pm - Labour leader David Cunliffe said he took no joy in a senior government minister resigning just prior to an election. "I think New Zealanders will want to know exactly what lies behind this. The minister should have been sacked months ago on the Oravida scandal.

11:30am - The Herald confirms Collins' resignation comes after evidence emerged in the past 24 hours of her role in moves to discredit former SFO boss Adam Feeley.

11:20am - A Media Advisory from the Prime Minister's office calls for an earlier media stand-up.

11:15am - The Herald breaks the story that Judith Collins had resigned

We will keep you updated on this developing story in the days to come.

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