Nation split over Collins, 'Dirty Politics'

Judith Collins
Judith Collins
New Zealanders are evenly divided over whether Justice Minister Judith Collins' head should roll for her part in the Dirty Politics scandal, a Herald-DigiPoll survey has found.

And while a slim majority believe the saturation media coverage of the claims in Nicky Hager's book was justified, a slightly larger majority say the furore was either unjustified or that it's time to move on.

Hager's expose of an alleged dirty tricks campaign run in co-operation between Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and Prime Minister John Key's office also fingered Ms Collins for passing on the identity of a public servant suspected of aiding Labour's attacks on the Government in 2011.

Mr Key has conceded Ms Collins, who was already on thin ice after the Oravida conflict-of-interest row, was "unwise" to have done that. Forty-six per cent of 750 New Zealanders surveyed over the week to Wednesday agreed her actions were more bad behaviour and she should resign. A combined 45.9 per cent said it was either unwise but not a sacking offence or she had done nothing wrong.

The Herald-DigiPoll survey is the latest of several polls suggesting that people think she should go but Mr Key yesterday stood by his decision to retain her. "That's my call as Prime Minister ... If the situation changes I reserve the right to look at that."

Less than a third of people agree with Mr Key's claim they were not interested in coverage of what he dismissed as a "left-wing smear campaign". Just over 53 per cent said the media coverage was justified while just over 30 per cent said it was not.

- by Adam Bannett, NZ Herald