Collins blasts 'disrespectful' Greens after Churchill portrait removed

Source: 1News

National leader Judith Collins says the Green Party's decision to remove a portrait of Sir Winston Churchill from Parliament is "disrespectful" and "outrageous".

Churchill was a British statesman who famously led Great Britain during WWII as prime minister from 1940 to 1945.

His views on race and British rule make him a controversial figure to some.

Today, his portrait was removed from a public space in Parliament at the request of the Greens.

"We didn’t feel like it was a very good fit for us, Chris Bishop wanted it for his office so it got moved," Green Party co-leader James Shaw said.

However, Judith Collins had a different view of how the matter played out.

"We found out this morning without notice that the Greens had demanded the removal of Winston Churchill’s portrait from the level two public area of the building here and apparently they are going to replace it with something else.

"But we found out about it and asked if we can have it in our public area, I just think it’s outrageous and so disrespectful," Collins said.

When pressed, Collins admitted that many great people had their "foibles" but Churchill stood up against Nazism when so many others were quick to give into it.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says they are going to replace it with a "piece of tangata whenua art".

"It's funny this is a story at all, that Judith Collins wants to focus on why we moved a piece of art."

This afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson turned his attention on to National’s artwork views in an entertaining address to the House, which included several images he had printed out.

Among his many jokes, Robertson said Simon Bridges had put up an image of his favourite "historical figure" - himself as National leader - outside his office.

Robertson joked that Christopher Luxon had commissioned a painting called ‘The Last Supper’, based on Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Jesus Christ's final meal with his apostles, only with special arrangements to ensure the real JC was put in the middle, referring to Collins.

When asked if Parliament will invest in portraits of historical figures from New Zealand, Speaker Trevor Mallard said today they were “working on some really interesting stuff” which would be announced at the appropriate time.