Judith Collins apologises for attack on reporter

Justice Minister Judith Collins with National MP Jami-Lee Ross during the party conference. Photo...
Justice Minister Judith Collins with National MP Jami-Lee Ross during the party conference. Photo / Dean Purcell
Embattled Justice Minister Judith Collins publicly apologised to television reporter Katie Bradford last night after attacking her on Twitter and telling a rival channel Bradford had inappropriately approached her when she was Police Minister.

Prime Minister John Key, while clearly unimpressed with Ms Collins' attacks on the journalist, expressed confidence in her when asked if he had unequivocal confidence in her.

According to Bradford's TVNZ boss, John Gillespie, Ms Collins admitted to him that Bradford had never asked her for help.

Before apologising on Twitter to Bradford, Ms Collins hinted in an interview with TV3's Brook Sabin that she could dish up more dirt on the press gallery.

"You might just find I get recall on all sorts of things. We'll just wait and see. I think it is very important when the media want to raise issues about behaviours, they need to understand that they sometimes can be very inappropriate as well."

Ms Collins' parting shot after the interview suggests she blames the media for Mr Williamson's fate, rather than Mr Williamson himself or the Prime Minister, who asked for his resignation.

"Let's see if you hold your own people to account after you've done what you've done to Maurice," she said to the TV3 reporter.

When Ms Collins was asked yesterday to comment on a Herald on Sunday story about Labour MP Ross Robertson approaching her about his police officer daughter's leave, she told TV3: "It's just like when a member of the press gallery approached me about how her then husband was having difficulty in becoming recruited by New Zealand Police. She said this was a problem and she had been told that her husband wasn't going to be acceptable as a police recruit because of her family connections."

Bradford's mother is the veteran protester and former Green MP Sue Bradford.

Ms Collins tweeted last night: "Katie, I was answering questions about wider public engagement. Yr example came to mind. Reflected on that. Shouldnt have. Sorry."

Katie Bradford said she'd had a good working relationship with Ms Collins but had never asked for a personal favour and was completely surprised by the comments.

"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 with being accepted.

"I recall that this came up in an informal conversation between the minister and me but I never asked her to intervene."

Her partner never formally applied to join the police.

On Friday night Bradford told the television audience she hadn't seen Ms Collins at the National's northern conference in Auckland. Ms Collins had been there and took to Twitter on Saturday night accusing Bradford of being biased and demanding an apology.

- Audrey Young, NZ Herald 

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