More lies from Judith Collins exposed

Rob Salmond at Polity has just exposed evidence that Judith Collins lied about her visit to Oravida’s headquarters. Mr Salmond has highlighted a document that (in Mr Salmond’s words):

It shows that Judith Collins’ visit to Oravida was an official, Ministerial visit specifically designed by the New Zealand government to improve Oravida’s, and only Oravida’s, business opportunities in China. That is something Judith Collins is strictly forbidden from doing in her Ministerial capacity, because her husband is a director of the company.

This is further evidence that Collins has used taxpayer funds to help her husband’s business, and that she has spent the last two months lying about that fact to her boss, the Parliament, and the people of New Zealand. She must resign.

So what is this document? It’s an email from Brian Hewson, the Deputy Consul-General in Shanghai, that sets out the schedule for Judith Collins’ visit to Oravida’s HQ (copy included here). The relevant incriminating part of the schedule is as follows:

Meeting Brief: Oravida

Date and Time
23 October 1530-1630

Event
Visit and Tour of Oravida Facilities

Purpose / objective
To increase the profile of a successful importer and distributor of New Zealand products into China

Agenda items / event outline
1445 Depart Bureau of Justice for Oravida Offices

1530 Arrive at Office
Met by Oravida Management
Visit and tour of Oravida facilities
Afternoon tea / chance to meet management and employees

1630 Depart for Pudong International Airport

Background of organization / institution
Oravida New Zealand Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oravida Ltd., a diversified company which owns a number of businesses in different sectors. The company is owned by Mr Deyi (Stone ) Shi and has two directors, Julia Xu and David Wong-Tung.

[…]

Attendees

Chinese side to be confirmed

New Zealand
Minister
Ambassador
Consul-General
Malcolm
Macintosh

So, Judith Collins has told Parliament and the New Zealand public (on countless occasions) that she popped in for a twenty minute stop on the way to the airport, purely because she had time. Yet according to the official schedule, this was an official Ministerial visit, planned in advance, that lasted almost two hours and involved four New Zealand officials (in addition to Ms Collins).

Let’s look at what the schedule says about the “Purpose/objective” of the visit:

To increase the profile of a successful importer and distributor of New Zealand products into China

Could it be more blunt? The purpose of the visit was to directly benefit Oravida – the company of which Collins’ husband is a director. That’s about as clear a breach of the Cabinet Manual policy on conflicts of interest as you’ll ever get.

Judith Collins told Parliament:

I was being driven around and I was assured by the ambassador that we could pop into Oravida on the way to the airport, or else I could have gone to the airport and I could have sat in the lounge for an extra long time.

As Rob Salmond writes:

This document shows that was also a lie. The meeting with Oravida was neither informal, spontaneous, nor on the way to the airport. The meeting was planned by officials long in advance, and was ticked off by Collins as part of her Ministerial itinerary before she left New Zealand.

Surely there is no possible way that Collins can explain her way out of this one. The documentation shows that Collins has repeatedly lied to Parliament. The meeting at Oravida – far from being an impromptu visit – was a pre-arranged Ministerial visit, explicitly designed to benefit the company her husband is a director of.

Surely this will be the final strike.

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