Judith Collins’ “private dinner” defence collapses

Judith Collins has steadfastly refused to answer questions in Parliament about her dinner with a mystery Chinese border control official, on the grounds that it was a private dinner. Well, it’s just been reported on stuff.co.nz that Ms Collins’ office was aware that the unnamed official would be at the dinner. Further, the official’s impending presence at the dinner was described as being a meeting arranged by Stone Shi, the managing director of Oravida.

Here’s a quote from an email sent from her office to the Ministery of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 15 October 2013:

“On Sunday, October 20, the minister will be having a dinner that will include (redacted name). He has agreed to meet with the minister arranged by Mr Stone Shi, Oravida. The minister would like ambassador Carl Worker and his wife to attend this dinner. A briefing from Mfat will be required.” [Emphasis added]

I’ve previously asked what sort of private dinner involves the NZ ambassador to China being invited? Well, now we know. It wasn’t a private dinner at all. It was a dinner meeting with a border control official, arranged by the managing director of a company that Ms Collins’ husband is a director of. Further, it was a dinner meeting with a Chinese official in a position to grease the wheels of Oravida’s supply chain to China. That’s a clear and direct conflict of interest, in contravention of the Cabinet Manual.

Ms Collins’ continued assertion that this was a private dinner is untenable. She has been caught lying to Parliament and should resign.


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