The secret diary of . . . Judith Collins

STEVE BRAUNIAS
Last updated 05:00 16/03/2014
Collins
Fairfax NZ
JUDITH COLLINS: Is that a milk moustache?

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OPINION: MONDAY

As the Minister of Justice, I do not think of myself as above the law.

But neither do I regard myself as beneath it. It's more accurate to say that the law and myself are on a level playing field. On the same wavelength, as it were. A simpler way of putting it is that I am the law.

As such I fail to see any wrongdoing or error in my meetings with executives from the milk export company Oravida.

All that happened is I bumped into them once on the way to Shanghai airport, and we sat down and had a cup of tea for five minutes. We talked about the weather.

It was just one of those things. We had a bit of time to kill, so we sat down and had a cup of tea for 10 minutes. We talked about the meaning of life.

The fact my husband is a company director at Oravida, and we are on very friendly terms with the CEO Stone Shi, who has a portrait of John Key in his office, plays golf with him, and donates money to the National Party, is neither here nor there. All that happened is we sat down and had a cup of tea for 20 minutes, which soon stretched to a lavish dinner in Beijing.

To avoid talking about milk, we sat in silence the entire time.

TUESDAY

When I think back to that cup of tea I shared with executives at Oravida, I realise they omitted to pour something. Tea.

At the time I just thought it was a bit milky. But the fact it was stone-cold, and poured into a glass, makes me wonder whether I was served a glass of milk.

They asked if I enjoyed the taste. I certainly didn't wish to appear rude, so naturally I said it was delicious.

They asked me to raise my glass, and repeat what I said, many times. They also asked me to walk around the room, sipping at the drink and smiling in a state of ecstasy with every taste, while wearing a range of costumes.

I was as surprised as anyone to later realise that I featured in a TV, radio, print, and social media campaign for Oravida.

WEDNESDAY

"You've gone too far this time," the PM shouted.

We were in his office. The walls are pretty thin, but he kept shouting.

"I'm very angry with you! Very, very angry. And disappointed. Very, very disappointed. You're on thin ice. Do you hear me? Thin ice," he shouted.

He stood up, walked across the room, and flung open the door. The press gallery were standing outside.

"Ask me anything you like," the PM said. "I'm mad as hell and I don't care who knows it."

THURSDAY

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I saw the PM in the corridor this afternoon. The press gallery were hanging around. They saw him walk past me as though I didn't exist.

His head was held high and he had the look of a man who took no prisoners. I put my head down, and wept. They all saw.

FRIDAY

"Cheers!" said the PM.

"Good health!" I said.

Stone Shi said, "May good fortune light your way and bestow health, wealth and happiness upon you and your family."

The PM said, "Your English is really coming along."

"So's yours," said Stone, and we all laughed.

We clinked glasses.

The PM and myself often end the working week at Stone's new Auckland home. The previous owner was Mark Hotchin. It's a nice place to relax. We looked out at the storm.

"I liked your Mr Angry impersonation," I said.

"Your tears were a nice touch," he said.

Stone said, "Another drink? Who's for a top-up?"

"Yes, please," I said.

"Me, too," said the PM.

Stone did the honours.

"How does it taste?", he asked.

"Delicious," the PM and myself said, and raised our glasses for more of that cold, white gold.

Steve Braunias is a Metro staff writer.

- Sunday Star Times

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