They first met when he was 16.
Welcoming Judith Collins to the inaugural Pakuranga SuperBlues meeting at the Howick Bowling Club on Friday morning, Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown joked that he first met Judith Collins at her office when he was just six.
Not quite. Not many are aware that a 16-year-old Simeon accompanied by his mum had approached the seasoned politician to share a letter written to him by the then Education Minister Chris Carter.
“He may have written it in a hurry but it had 16 proof reading errors in it,” he laughs. “I showed the letter to Judith and she later read it out in Parliament saying that for an Education Minister to make 16 errors….”
The feisty politician – nicknamed Crusher – dressed in an elegant Trelise Cooper outfit, and had encouraging words to say. “Even at quite a youngish age he (Simeon) is confident in Parliament and is getting things done.”
As always, Ms Collins had everyone’s attention as she covered a range of subjects; her pet peeve—men in lycra and cycle lanes that add to traffic congestion (“Cycleways are lovely but not on my way (to work)”); to “being in opposition is a great opportunity to listen and learn,” and former Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson occasionally texting her from Los Angeles, “he encourages me to do what I do.”
She later spoke to the Times about the electorate being a good place to keep people grounded.
Talking about coping with losing the National leadership twice, she said: “When you enter politics, you know that if you are going to put yourself out there, there will be times when you don’t get what you want.
“It can make you deeply unhappy but you’ve got to be resilient. You don’t have the luxury of time to recover. You’ve got to get back on your feet almost immediately.
“I don’t like to fail, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take chances,” she said.
“A lot of people have the fear that they may lose. In that case they have already lost.
“I know I wasn’t anointed as leader of the opposition, but that’s a matter the caucus needs to decide. I did the best I can.”
A day after the interview Ms Collins’ place as National’s fourth ranked MP to go up against Housing Minister Phil Twyford was announced.
Am exchange of words began almost instantly as Mr Twyford described Ms Collins as “an epitome of old school, hard- hearted Nat; a crusher and not a builder.”
Ms Collins responded: “Oh dear, he’s forgotten he’s in government. Phil needs to stop personally attacking me and focussing on delivering on New Zealand. He must be very rattled.”
Never a dull moment!