Today My Thinks continues its irregular series of political profiles. Today our focus is on Justice Minister and dairy company consultant Judith Collins. Our reporter caught up with her over the weekend as she enjoyed some relaxation time at her home away from home – the South Auckland Gun and Oversized Weaponry Club.
I arrive at the gun club just after morning tea time. There is a definite tang in the air as if someone has spent the last seven hours firing round after round after round. I open the door and head inside. Sitting there at a table enjoying a cup of tea with her security official is Judith Collins. She looks up, spots me and flashes me a smile. A long, cold shiver runs up my spine – as if someone has not only walked over my grave but dug it up and re-zoned the cemetery as a playground.
“Good morning Michael,” says the Justice Minister, “I’m glad you were able to come and see me at the range this morning. I’ve been here since half past four and so far I’ve fired 13 different weapons.”
She takes a sip of her tea and continues. I am somewhat concerned that we have never met, yet she knows my name.
“Guns are sexy and so am I,” she declares.
I’m not sure what she means by this as I don’t believe either to be the case. Her security officer gives me a you’d better agree with what she says, otherwise you will die look. Fearing for my life, I agree with her.
Collins points to what resembles a former pig carcass at the other end of the range. She turns away from it, primes her Glock, closes her eyes and then does a half turn emptying the magazine. Each hollow point bullet causes maximum impact and in no time the carcass is just a pile of meat on the ground. Collins blows the smoke away from her gun barrel and sits down to another sip of tea.
“What do you want?” she asks in a deliciously menacing voice.
“I’m here from the blog to do your profile.”
“Did Cameron send you?”
“Oh, no… I don’t write for his blog. I’m not a member of any far-right hate group.”
“But Cam’s a member of the National Party.”
“Um… yes. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions for my blog?”
Ms Collins looks at her gun and back at me. “Be careful,” she says, “be very, very careful.”
Carefully I reach into my man-satchel to get my notepad. Collins starts laughing. After a short delay, her security officer realises what is happening and begins to laugh as well. Both stop at exactly the same time.
“Goodness me sweetie,” she says in a voice that would melt granite, “is that a man-satchel you’ve got? Are you a member of the Labour Party. Worse! Are you a Green? Oh, god, you’re a Green. Quick! Where’s your tin-foil hat? Where’s your sandals, your fresh water ideas and your comprehensive public transport policy? Oh deary me my gay-dar is off today, honey.”
I decide rather than to try to defend myself against this barrage of passive-aggressive abuse, I would start the interview. I look at my list of questions. Instantly I put a line through seven fully aware that the banana box of 9mm bullets is within arms reach.
“Why did you get into politics,” I ask, certain that this question is benign enough to generate an answer.
“I got into politics because I was excited about serving my community…”
So far, so good.
“…You see there are many people in the community, particularly in the community of my family, who are in desperate need of help. The government can and do provide help to a range of people. My family are a range of people. They need help. I am here to help.”
“You’ve had a rough year this year,” I continue, “was there ever a time when you thought that you would give politics away?”
“Oh goodness no darling,” she says, “I am committed to serving the hard-working people in New Zealand families like my family. We are living in a brighter future and that future is #TeamKey.”
I want to point out that she doesn’t have to say the word hashtag before she says TeamKey because I know what she is talking about. Again, the banana box of bullets prevents me from speaking out.
“What do you think will happen to the National Party once John Key leaves to play golf in Hawaii with Barak Obama and other redundant world leaders?”
“Oh, I suspect there will be a feeding frenzy in caucus and the best man will rise above the surface with blood on their face and entrails in their teeth. I will be that man.”
I realise the longer I stay in this gun club, the greater my chances are of having a shorter life-span. I thank Ms Collins for her time and quickly make my exit.
If the National Party lose the election, I don’t want to be there when it happens.