There has been some excellent blogging about the recent Oravida scandal in which senior Cabinet Minister Judith Collins is currently embroiled. She's taking some leave to get disentangled, if not in fact then by the passage of time, and I thought it might be timely to reflect on some not so recent incidents. There is a strong theme of Collins not understanding, or not caring, about conflicts of interest, and/or correct process.
Arranging for Dr Wayne Mapp to be appointed to the Law Commission in 2012 - some people may recall Mapp was a National MP (Shadow Minister of Eradication of Political Correctness under Brash iirc?). He was also a law lecturer prior to entering Parliament, and was not well served by Collins' interference.
Overruling independent selection panel to appoint close friend of her husband to Director of Human Rights Proceedings, 2013 - a position that must be independent and seen to be independent from the government of the day as they are often taking cases against the government.
Dodgy "celebrity" appointment of Dame Susan Devoy as the new Race Relations Commissioner, 2013 - many people questioned whether Devoy was a good fit for this role and with some digging it became clear that Collins had skewed the process in her favour.
Very dodgy appointment of Dr Jackie Blue as the new EEO Commissioner, 2013 - which was a shame because Blue was a strong candidate and is now, from reports I hear and my own observations, doing a good job, but will now always be tainted by this.
Then we come to this year and the
Collins fundamentally does not seem to understand, and does not want to understand, that the role of Minister comes with some hefty rules and expectations around not interfering in a way that favours your mates. I come across it all the time in local government - people ask me about this job or that contract and you have to be Very Very Careful, maintain a distance, declare interests pro-actively, and sometimes rudely interrupt people to say "I CANNOT talk about this with you."
Remember Collins has not apologised or accepted that she did anything wrong with any of the instances above. Which means she is very likely to do it again.