July 21, 2014
Collins in trouble again
Just when Justice Minister Judith Collins thought it was safe to start swimming again in the political pool, another jaws like scandal has emerged that could take the air out of her inflatable life jacket.
I’m talking about revelations that hundreds of burglaries in the south Counties-Manukau Police district – 700 to be precise – were not counted in the crime statistics from 2009-2012.
Perhaps they were just a slip of a pen by under pressure cops instructed to get on top of crime? While I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I’ve always believed that if it looks like a duck and talks like a duck, there’s a good chance it is a duck.
Collins stupidly tried to lay this off as politicking by Labour – well guess what Judith it is and Jacinda Adern should take the kudos for unearthing this. But one thing this story has also done is alert the public to an underlying uneasiness about this entire situation.
We all know Collins was the Police Minister at the time this was happening, and her electorate is part of the Counties-Manukau area. Mike Bush – now the Police Commissioner – was the District Commander at the time.
You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see how this could appear.
Plus I recall articles at the time in the papers where Collins was full of praise for the way in which South Auckland police had started to get on top of the crime statistics. She put this down to good old fashioned work and the government commitment to the area. The government basked in the glory of the reduction in crime going into the 2011 election, which reflected in their numbers.
But we now know, that bad counting also contributed to the decrease and that figures can always be manipulated to show good or bad.
An internal police audit and investigation found five staff – many who left the police soon after – that probe started – were responsible for not coding those burglary figures correctly and ‘sanctioned.’
Collins admits she was told of the discrepancies at the time but didn’t think much of them. She also failed to alert incoming Police Minister Anne Tolley of the cooked books, thereby handing her a hospital pass.
But with Tolley out of town, it was left for Collins, as acting Police Minister to front.
This episode is another nail in Collins coffin and John Key will need to ask himself tough questions over his highest ranking female MP’s ability.
Collins is as tough as they come and a real scrapper. I’ve admired how she won’t take a backward step against some of the political bullies. But this latest scandal coming on top of the Oravinda Milk debacle might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back watch this space.
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