Justice Minister Judith Collins' "cup of tea on the way
to the airport" at her friend Stone Shi's company in Shanghai
involved a 30km detour in the opposite direction, it was
Ms Collins remains under pressure over claims of a conflict
of interest over her visit to Oravida's Shanghai offices and
a dinner with Mr Shi and a senior Chinese border control
official while on a taxpayer-funded visit to China last year
in her capacity as Justice Minister.
When first asked about the visit to the offices of the
company on whose board her husband David Wong-Tung serves, Ms
Collins said it was to "have a cup of tea on the way to the
But her claim the visit was for a casual cup of tea rang
false after a formal invitation from the company two weeks
before was released under the Official Information Act.
Yesterday the cup of tea was looking even less casual after
Labour MP Grant Robertson asked whether she was aware "that
Oravida's headquarters are 30km in the opposite direction
from where her hotel and business meetings were held and not
on the way to Pudong airport at all?"
Ms Collins said she had never been to Shanghai before except
for the airport transit lounge.
"So I had no idea where I was."
Mr Robertson later told the Herald the 80km trip to Oravida
and then back across Shanghai to the airport was "just
further evidence of the fact that it was a pre-planned visit
and it was designed to promote the company that her husband
is a director of".
Ms Collins faced questions from New Zealand First leader
Winston Peters about who paid for the Beijing dinner with Mr
Shi and the border control official.
Ms Collins walked away from similar questions from reporters
earlier in the day.
Mr Peters also pressed her on whether she could stand by her
claim that Oravida's business was not discussed at the dinner
when neither she nor her senior adviser could speak or
understand Mandarin. But Ms Collins countered Mr Peters'
cross examination, saying that it was a very short dinner,
"and the language being spoken was English, or forms
Speaking to reporters in Beijing last night Mr Key said the
matter "had a fair hearing last week".
However, Labour leader David Cunliffe said Ms Collins was "on
"Ministers who are on the run can't stay running forever and
there's much more to come out on the Collins story. Labour is
aware of other matters which will be brought to the public
attention in due course."
* Justice Minister Judith Collins' "cup of tea on the way to
* Shanghai Pudong airport was about 20km east from her last
* Rather than going directly to the airport, Ms Collins
travelled 30km west to visit Oravida's Shanghai offices.
* The trip from Oravida to the airport took her 50km back