The Herald reports:
David Cunliffe says his Queenstown ski holiday has left him “recharged” and ready to take the battle to Prime Minister John Key in the two-month countdown to election day.
But the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.
Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.
“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.”
This is staggering in its incompetence.
You go to rape crisis, apologise for being a man, talking about the rape culture in New Zealand, and then go out to dinner (my understanding, or at least meet with) with a man who pleaded guilty in court to forcing himself onto a woman and got name suppression because of his status.
The identify of the Queenstown resident is not a closely guarded secret. It has even been published in Australia. Rodney Hide has been campaigning for the identity of the man to be published in Parliament.
One can only take David Cunliffe at his word that he didn’t know, but I find it impossible to believe no one on his staff knew. The identity is an open secret. Either the meeting/dinner was not arranged through his staff, or there is something very very wrong in his office.
Here’s the report of the offending:
Over a three-year period, he visited their home half a dozen times, but always with someone else.
On the day of the incident, she was about to leave to do some shopping with her daughter, she said.
While her daughter went to get the mail from the end of the long drive, the man followed her inside and “he just grabbed hold of me from behind”, she said.
“He was tall and towered over me. I said: ‘What the hell are you doing?’
“And he said: ‘But you are so lovely’. It was horrible. His hands were all over me,” the woman said.
“He kept pushing his tongue in my mouth, pulling my head back and sticking his tongue down into my mouth and I was trying to push him off.
“His hands were all around my back, his hands down the back of my knickers.”
He confessed he had always liked her.
“I was totally shocked. It took me by surprise. But I wasn’t scared because I knew my daughter was about.
“I was trying to push him off and he took my hand and put it on his what’s-it and he said to me: ‘This is what you are doing to me’.
The offender, who has political links, was given name suppression. He should not have got name suppression.
Even the offender says his identity is an open secret:
Despite name suppression, the man said everyone in his home town knew he was the “prominent man” in the paper. “It has taken away all my livelihood,” he said.
“Even with name suppression I got fired from a job because a guy had heard it was me,” he said.
He believed he was unfairly targeted because he was a household name.
Again I find it almost beyond belief that David Cunliffe or his staff did not know. And they were also meeting the local Labour candidate. How could she not know? Again, this was an open secret.