Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Jury out on whether declaration needed

Justice Minister Judith Collins. Photo / Getty Images
Justice Minister Judith Collins. Photo / Getty Images

Claims Justice Minister Judith Collins should have declared Chinese Government hospitality are a matter between Ms Collins and the registrar, Prime Minister John Key says.

In Parliament yesterday, New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters' tabled evidence that Ms Collins had failed to declare to Parliament's Register of Pecuniary Interests the support she received during her October trip to Beijing.

However, what Ms Collins called "substantial support" was disclosed to her Cabinet colleagues in a confidential report in November.

Mr Peters said Ms Collins' failure to disclose that support in the register compounded her misleading statements about the trip.

"She's made deceitful statement after deceitful statement.

"They have all been proved to be bunkum and here's another one and there's more to come."

Mr Peters had claimed to have information that would end Ms Collins' career, saying she "will not survive next week with what I know".

But Prime Minister John Key dismissed Mr Peters' attack, saying: "His smoking gun's turned into a pop gun."

A spokeswoman for Mr Key later said: "If there is a need to amend the register, then like other members that can be easily done."

Registrar of Pecuniary Interests Sir Maarten Wevers said he didn't know whether Ms Collins should have declared the support.

"All I have is what has been stated in the House. I'm in no position to judge the veracity of that. It's for the member."

He said any member of Parliament "can at any stage ask me to undertake an inquiry into another member's return".

Mr Peters has instead referred the matter to Speaker of the House David Carter as a potential breach of Parliamentary Privilege.

Mr Peters did little to advance his interests with Mr Carter yesterday, defying a series of warnings, and was eventually ejected from the House.

"If he thinks he's going to shut me down he's got the wrong guy," Mr Peters said later.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 18 Sep 2014 05:24:12 Processing Time: 505ms