Scoop report and photo by Jeremy Wilkinson
The Minister of Justice Judith Collins has today resigned from the Cabinet because of allegations that she tried to undermine a senior civil servant through a blog.
Prime Minister John Key told reporters in a hastily-called lunchtime news conference at Parliament that she had given him her resignation after his office was supplied with email correspondence from Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater.
Mr Key revealed that the email (from 2011) said Judith Collins had supplied information to Cameron Slater about the director of the Serious Fraud Office Adam Feeley. (“She is gunning for Feeley,” wrote Slater in the email.) Collins was the minister responsible for the Serious Fraud Office at the time. Collins was not directly involved in the email correspondence.
Mr Key told journalists there was no indication that Collins did anything wrong. but resigning as minister was the honourable step to take because of such serious allegations against her.
The Prime Minister was questioned about Nicky Hagar’s use of emails as a reliable source of information in his book Dirty Politics, and he stated “I’ll take the facts as I see them.”
He said he didn’t control Cameron Slater, and denied any frequent contact with him, or supplying any information to him.
Mr Key, who cancelled a campaign visit to Lower Hutt’s Queensgate Mall to clear time for the news conference, said he does not think Collins’ resignation will have an impact on National’s campaign.
Ms Collins told journalists at a brief news conference in Auckland that she denies any misconduct and has “always acted professionally with the SFO director.”
She is requesting an inquiry into the allegations made against her and was confident this would clear her; in the meantime she would “fight to win her electorate seat” in Papakura.
She did not take any questions.
Chris Finlayson will be Acting Minister of Justice, Craig Foss will be Acting Minister for ACC, and Hekia Parata will be Acting Minister for Ethnic Affairs.