Justice Minister Judith Collins lashed out TVNZ press
gallery reporter Katie Bradford this morning telling rival
channel TV3 in an interview that Bradford had raised with her
difficulties her former partner might have getting into Police
College because of his family connections.
Collins then took to Twitter, effectively daring TV3 to raise
the allegations she made about Bradford.
Collins has since apologised to Bradford on Twitter.
The reference to family connections is thought to be
referring to Bradford's mother, the former Green MP and
frequently arrested protester Sue Bradford.
Collins' outburst followed her lashing out at Bradford on
Twitter last night as a "liar" after Bradford said in her TV
report on National's northern regional conference that she
hadn't seen Collins at the conference, which was true but
Collins had been there.
Katie Bradford was shocked by Collins' allegations today.
"I've had a good working relationship with the Minister in my
years covering politics in parliament but I have never asked
her for a personal favour," she said in a statement.
"Back in 2010 my ex-partner was considering applying for the
police force - at the time it had been suggested to him that
he might have an issue being accepted. I recall that this
came up in informal conversation between the Minister and me
but I never asked her to intervene. As it was my then partner
never formally applied to join the police."
Collins said in a tweet tonight: "Katie, I was answering
questions about wider public engagement. Yr example came to
mind. Reflected on that. Shouldnt have. Sorry."
Katie Bradford was covering the conference and was part of a
media standup after the Prime Minister's speech which was
dominated by TV3 questions about Collins' allegations.
Mr Key tried to down play any suggestion of an ongoing war on
the media just over four months from the general election.
"I don't believe every individual thing people say or very
inference they make but we have a good working relationship
with the media. The media have got a job to do. We have got a
job to do and that is where is should start and finish."
Collins said she did not take the issue Bradford had raised
any further but tweeted: "I thought it was very odd and
She would not speak to the Herald about it but appeared to be
down-playing it when she later said through her press
secretary: "It's just an example of the fact that many people
bring up portfolio-related matters with ministers during
Collins was being interviewed by TV3 about a report in the
Herald on Sunday about an approach Labour MP Ross Robertson
had made to her as Police Minister. He had asked about leave
entitlement of his daughter, who was a police officer and a
Collins subsequently did make inquiries of the police
following Robertson's approach.
TVNZ Head of News and Current Affairs John Gillespie said in
a statement he had spoken to Collins following her comments
"She stated that this came up as a topic in conversation and
she also stated that Katie Bradford never asked for help.
"Katie is a respected senior journalist and an asset to our
parliamentary reporting team. She joined TVNZ last year and
she is currently deputy chair of the press gallery."
Last week's resignation of Maurice Williamson over his
interference in a police investigation has turned the
spotlight back on Collins' ongoing troubles over her dealings
with the Oravida company, of which her husband is a director.
The Cabinet Office believes she breached the cabinet manual
in creating the perception of a conflict of interest in her
dealings with them during a justice-related trip to China.
She has apologised and Key today continued to express
confidence in Collins.
Key drew a clear distinction between policing matters and
"It may well be that an MP or anybody else in the public
raises a policing matter with either the minister or the
police, that may be possible. That is vastly different to a
minister making a phone call during an ongoing prosecution.
"That is against the cabinet manual and it is a very clear
line. It is vastly different from anything else I have ever
- By Audrey Young of the NZ Herald