Did Lange lie?

Audrey Young at NZ Herald reports:

’s former chief adviser Gerald Hensley has come to the conclusion that the former Prime Minister lied about his early involvement in the anti-nuclear crisis that gripped the fourth Labour Government.

Well he was either incompetent, or lied. Maybe both.

But the bigger shock for Mr Hensley came during research for the book. He said not only had Mr Lange told colleagues he had known nothing about the Buchanan until he had returned from Tokelau but he also told some that it had all been the work of Mr Hensley, Foreign Affairs and Defence.

Mr Hensley said the discovery made him feel “a bit sad”.

“I mean, I like David, still, you might say against some of the evidence.

“He was such a warm, humorous, human man and I knew that he embroidered things, altered them round to make a better story, but I hadn’t actually thought of him being an actual liar.

“But I’m afraid you really can’t use any other word for this. It was a conscious lie to protect himself in the debacle that followed the collapse of the Buchanan visit. And I was a bit shocked.”

If Lange said he was unaware of the Buchanan invite, it was a clear lie.

Margaret Pope, initially Mr Lange’s chief speechwriter, wrote to a newspaper in 1994 saying the PM had not known about the Buchanan until he got back from Tokelau, but she had since acknowledged that was not so.

Of course he knew. Officials don’t invite ships without the approval of the Prime Minister.

Mr Hensley, Ms Pope and Sir Geoffrey Palmer will appear on The Nation, TV3, tomorrow at 9.30am.

That could be interesting.

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