Barry Soper: Collins had a chance to act swiftly with Falloon scandal - she didn't

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Jul 2020, 7:33PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Barry Soper: Collins had a chance to act swiftly with Falloon scandal - she didn't

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Jul 2020, 7:33PM

Judith Collins has had a charmed run since becoming National's leader this time last week, and with good reason.

She's front-footed most things, has handled herself well in the media and appears to know her stuff when it comes to policy.

In her case, momentum's obviously important with just 60 days until we all file into the ballot boxes.

Collins has got to prove her mettle if she's to have a hope of knocking Jacinda Ardern, the Covid conqueror, off her perch.

She'd do well to learn from her predecessor Todd Muller how not to handle a crisis concerning an inconsequential MP.

The fallout for Muller from the Hamish Walker debacle was in the end all too much for him to handle.

He wasn't frank with the media and was found out.

Collins is a very different sort of operator, she's rolled with the punches, has been down and out, but had come back stronger.

The softest part of Collins is her teeth and it's time for her to start gnashing them.

Something serious has gone down with another first term millennial MP, Andrew Falloon from Rangitata.

Like Walker he's now not standing at the next election, throwing the party into the turmoil of finding another candidate in short order.

Why, is the burning question that the public who paid his wages has a right to know.

The first anyone knew of his demise was a statement from his office mid-afternoon, telling us he'd made a number of mistakes and he apologised to those who had been affected.

Five minutes later, Collins fired a grenade into the mix, putting out a statement telling us he's suffering from significant mental health issues.

Of course both statements raised many more questions than they answered.

Just to add to the intrigue, the Prime Minister became involved.

Ardern's office received correspondence about Falloon last week, spoke to the writer and with their permission handed it on to Collins' office.

Ardern wasn't saying what the information was, simply saying if was for the Leader of the Opposition to sort out.

Collins' office tells us she dealt with it decisively.

Dealt with what is the question, but it's not one the new leader wants to answer and for her that's a great pity.

If she wants to take the public along with her she's got to be more frank with it.

The parliamentary rumour mill is now spinning out of the control and the National leader simply has herself to blame for oiling the cogs.

It's been confirmed Falloon sent an indecent photo to a university student.

To muddy the mental health waters in this way is simply unacceptable.