Judith Collins, left, Pakistan High Commissioner Zehra
Akbari, David Cunliffe and Phil Goff at the Pakistan
Independence Day celebrations. Photo / Michael Craig
Embattled Judith Collins emerged unrepentant yesterday
and announced she would not be stepping down after a political
week from hell.
Attending a Pakistan Independence Day event at Auckland
Girls' Grammar School she brushed aside questions over
whether she would resign with a resounding: "Certainly not".
Collins' reputation has taken a battering after revelations
in the book Dirty Politics and amid accusations she
fast-tracked an OIA request from Whale Oil blogger Cameron
Slater in just 37 minutes.
Collins has also faced calls for her resignation over her
role in passing the name and details of a public servant she
suspected of helping Labour in a political attack to Slater.
The minister, who attended the event with Labour leader David
Cunliffe and veteran Labour MP Phil Goff, was subject to a
media frenzy when she arrived in a chauffeur-driven silver
She brushed off questions about the OIA controversy and the
hacked emails row.
However, after speaking at the event, which was attended by
several hundred members of Auckland's Pakistan community, she
said: "My office does our very best to get our OIA requests
as quickly as possible.
"I also note that two members of the Press Gallery have said
I have done the same for them this week."
When pressed about whether her recent troubles would mean her
political ambitions to one day lead the National Party were
over, Collins was non-committal.
"I have never talked about that. I am here to do the best job
that I can," she said. "I always agree with the Prime
Minister with everything, I always find that helpful."
She added that recent criticism about her performance "goes
with the job. I'm not worried by it".
"This week I have spent a lot of time door-knocking and doing
everything I said I would," she added.
Support from her National Party colleagues is believed to
have nosedived in recent weeks. But Collins put on a brave
face about this too.
"My colleagues have been great. I always have had a lot of
good friends and even though I don't agree with everything my
friends do, I am always loyal to them."