National Party leader Judith Collins says she is happy to talk to the media, as long as she gets to discuss “important issues”.
Collins pulled out of her weekly appearance on RNZ’s Morning Report, after learning it intended to ask about the departure of three staff members from her office.
RNZ’s line of questioning was inappropriate, Collins told The Country’s Jamie Mackay.
“It is simply not acceptable to have the state-owned broadcaster wanting to talk about individual staff members and I will not do so. It is a breach of their privacy and it is not something that any of them have signed up to – so absolutely not.”
Collins had also cancelled her appearance on Newshub Nation this weekend.
“I’m very clear about this. If I’m going to spend the time and opportunity to talk to New Zealanders about important issues, I expect they will be important issues.”
These issues included the Water Services Bill and how it would affect farmers, Collins said.
“I’m happy to talk about that. What I’m not prepared to do is waste everybody’s time talking about silly things that have nothing to do with policy.”
Mackay said Collins also didn’t want to talk about a comment she made a few years ago, that she would leave if her party polled under 35 per cent.
He said Collins almost “bit his head off” when he put the question to her before they went to air. He asked if she was being too defensive.
Collins said the comment was inaccurate and the matter had been dealt with at Caucus anyway.
“I’m actually thinking that, really, listeners want to know about the same things that I’m interested in, which is the economy of this country, what’s happening with farmers and why this Government is consistently and continually backing regulations over the people who produce our food.
“That’s what I’m here to talk about, I’m not going to be bothered talking about a comment that was made pre-Covid, a long, long time ago…and which we’ve already dealt with.”
Meanwhile, Collins said she was not concerned with the rising popularity of the Act Party, and was quick to point out it had voted for the Water Services Bill, along with Labour and the Greens.
“I thought that was an appalling situation, but that’s what they did.
“They voted [that] farmers and lifestyle block holders who share bore water [should be] regulated as though they’re at the same sort of standard as if they were supplying a city.”
Collins was also concerned about the Three Waters Reform Programme which was “coming down at you like a freight train” on October 1.
She said the centralised water programme would strip local government of its obligations, powers and assets.
“That is something that every New Zealander should be very, deeply concerned about.”
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