The Benson-Pope come-back

July 31st, 2013 at 5:38 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Former Cabinet minister David Benson-Pope is planning a political comeback.

Mr Benson-Pope, 63, a five-term Dunedin city councillor before entering national politics, yesterday said he would stand again in October’s local body elections for a council seat.

He is the fifth candidate confirmed as standing in the council’s 11-seat central ward.

Mr Benson-Pope left national politics in 2008, after becoming embroiled in scandal over allegations he mistreated pupils while a teacher in the 1980s.

He was eventually sacked as a Cabinet minister following separate claims he misled the public, and later lost the Labour Party nomination for the Dunedin South electorate to Clare Curran.

Mr Benson-Pope said he hoped his critics had moved on.

Will Mayor be the next step after Council?

Toad on why the centre-left lost power

November 18th, 2008 at 3:56 pm by David Farrar

Toad from the Greens has an insightful piece as to why the centre-left lost power:

  1. The Taito Phillip Field Affair Allegations of misconduct against Field had been simmering since just before the 2005 election. Instead of implementing a proper investigation with the teeth to interview witnesses under oath, Clark implemented an Claytons inquiry that was widely perceived as a whitewash designed to clear Field. Then despite further very serious allegations, Field was retained in the Labour Caucus right through to February 2007, creating a perception of tolerance of impropriety and possible corruption.

    Dead right. It was a disgrace, and even after the Ingram report they defended Field with Cullen saying he was just working harder for his constituents than National MPs did. Richard Prebble showed the correct way to respond to allegations of corruption around an MP – Helen Clark did the opposite.
  2. The pledge card Labour’s handling of the pledge card and the Auditor-General’s report was appalling. The should have simply admitted “we got it wrong, and we’ll pay the money back” (as the Greens did). Instead, they allowed the pledge card affair to drag on interminably, and were subjected to daily allegations in Parliament of corruption. They hadn’t actually done anthing that most other political parties had done, but their reluctance to own up to their mistake and put it right undermined public confidence in them as a Government.

    They only conceded to pay the money back after they had taken all the flak for resisting. And the attacks on the Auditor-General were disgraceful.

  3. David Benson-Pope Much like Taito Phillip Field actually, although the allegations were not so serious. The perception was created, through Clark’s continued tolerance of Benson-Pope through the “tennis balls affair” in which he had quite clearly been economical with the truth. He was finally dispatched in July 2007 after allegations of him lying to Parliament over matters relating to the appointment of a Communications Manager in the Ministry for the Environment. Clark said at the time, “The way in which certain issues have been handled this week has led to a loss of credibility and on that basis I have accepted Mr Benson-Pope’s offer to stand aside”. Pity for her that she didn’t realise he had lost credibility much earlier.

    Benson-Pope clearly lied about the tennis ball incident, with 11 or so pupils recalling it. And the issue was not whether or not he was a perfect teacher – it was that he called his former pupils liars and denied an incidents. He created all the problems for himself by the way he went on the attack.

  4. The Electoral Finance Act This was handled by Labour in the most appalling way. The original Bill was so poorly drafted that Justice Minister Mark Burton deserved the sack for allowing a Bill that was such a shambles to come before Parliament. He was later quietly stood down, but by that time the damage had been done. Labour railroaded the Bill through Parliament, refusing to consider very pertinent submissions from organisations such as the Human Rights Commission or suggestions from the Green Party who were left with a “take it or leave it” option. This allowed the right to create the perception of the Electoral Finance Bill, and consequently of Labour, being undemocratic – a task which the NZ Herald took up with great gusto.

    Here I will have a go at Toad. The bloody Greens voted for the EFA, and they voted against many good amendments that would have made it a lot better. They sacrificed any moral high ground on electoral issues with their shameful kowtowing to Labour. If the Greens had the backbone at the beginning to say we won’t vote for this at first reading unless you consult with all parties, then the EFA would never have happened. I’m actually getting sick of how many people on the left are now decrying the EFA, when they never spoke up at the time.

    And while the final EFA was bad enough, I agree Mark Burton should have been shot for letting the original EFB through – that was the most draconian law I have ever seen with statutory declaraions needed to send an e-mail to a mate on a topical issue.

  5. Winston Peters Need I say more. Clark stood by Peters as allegation after allegation of impropriety and, in the last few weeks, even corruption emerged against Peters. In her first and second terms he would have been promptly dispatched, at least temporarily, for allegations of far less substance, but her continued tolerance of him as a Minister allowed her and her government to be tarred with the same brush as Peters.

    Here at least the Greens can take a bow, and did put some heat on Clark. Clark’s legacy will always be tained by her disgraceful defence of Peters, and her total lack of concern with the evidence from the Serious Fraud Office and the Muerant papers about possible policies for cash.

Benson-Pope not standing

October 13th, 2008 at 8:17 am by David Farrar

Oh what a pity. David Benson-Pope is not standing. I just lost a few dollars in iPredict, but luckily still up overall.

DBP is still not happy though:

“I acknowledge the widely-held view that the candidate selection was not in the best interest of the electorate and that little regard has been given to the very high level of voter support that I have received in five terms as a [city] councillor and three terms as the parliamentary representative of this electorate,” he said.

“In the end, however, I cannot respond to the disloyalty of a few by allowing any personal sense of betrayal to stand in the way of my political philosophy.”

He goes on to urge party vote Labour but stays silent on the electorate vote!

I wonder how many boards he will be appointed to, if Labour wins the election? If Di Yates can get four, then Benson-Pope should be up for half a dozen or so.

Hat Tip: Home Paddock

The week at iPredict

September 29th, 2008 at 7:39 am by David Farrar

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PM.National sold at just under 74c most of last weekend. At 6 pm when TVNZ announced they had a exclusive story on John Key’s undisclosed Tranzrail shares, PM.National dropped to 71c by 6.30 pm.

The release of the Privileges Committee report into Winston Peters saw a recovery, followed a dip again the next day when he got mauled during question time, resting at 72c.

It stayed at 72c on Wednesday and Thursday, and Friday’s favourable poll results in the NZ Herald pushed PM.National up to a healthy 76c again.

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Peters.Resign share price has plummeted as it became apparent that not even a finding that he had filed false returns by the Privileges Committee and a parliamentary censure would cause Helen Clark to sack Peters. Peters.resign was over 50 c during the weekend and peaked at 65c as rumours of the Privileges Committee findings surfaced. But then PM Clark was reported as saying she was unlikely to act as the process had been tainted and the stock fell to 33c by 6.30 pm Monday night.

The Privileges Committee report was so damning that the prices rose again 57c, but then over the next few days has just declined constantly, reaching a low of 18c reflecting the market consensus that Clark will never sack him.

MP.Peters has also been in decline. The stock rose to 44c, but the Privileges Committee report saw it drop from Monday evening onwards, hitting a low of 32c on Thursday.

The new Benson.Pope stock (on whether he will stand as a non Labour candidate) was floated on Monday at 80c, and this ha proven to be a good float price, as the price has only ranged between 77c and 83c since then.

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Also launched this week were the US.Obama and US.McCain stocks. US.Obama was snapped up at 50c quickly hitting 64c before falling back to 56c where it spent most of the week. As the financial situation gets worse in the US, Obama’s chances have increased and his stock has climbed further to 60c.

More valedictories

September 26th, 2008 at 8:00 am by David Farrar

From Stuff:

  1. Paul Swain
  2. Tim Barnett
  3. Margaret Wilson
  4. Marian Hobbs
  5. David Benson-Pope
  6. Steve Maharey

Paul Swain’s was very funny. MPs who have served as Minister of Corrections always get some good stories to tell. Benson-Pope’s was ugly and partisan, as one expects from him.

David Benson-Pope unveils his campaign billboard

September 25th, 2008 at 3:14 pm by David Farrar

I’ve been leaked an exclusive copy of the campaign billboard for David Benson-Pope for Dunedin South.

He does have a point. Helen has let Winston away with lies to the media, lies to her, lies to the public, lies to the Privileges Committee and he is still there with all his baubles. While DBP got chopped down for far far less – not only losing his Ministerial baubles but also deselected.

Once upon a time I would have said Benson-Pope would have no chance ofkeeping his seat as an Independent. But I am hearing there is real anger at ths disparity of treatment between Peters and Benson-Pope. It will be interesting to see how many activists stay with Curran and how many leave with Benson-Pope – if he stands.

Three new stocks at iPredict

September 22nd, 2008 at 4:57 pm by David Farrar

iPredict has launched three new stocks:

  1. Benson.Pope – will pay out $1 if David Benson-Pope stands as a non Labour candidate in the 2008 general election. Has launched at 80c.
  2. US.Obama08 – will pay out of $1 if Obama is elected President. Launched at 49.5c
  3. US.McCain08 – will pay out of $1 if McCain is elected President. Launched at 49.5c

I’d say Benson.Pope gives a pretty good opportunity to make some money.

Benson-Pope campaigning hard

September 22nd, 2008 at 1:08 pm by David Farrar

Spies in Dunedin tell me that David Benson-Pope has been hard to work campaigning, and handing out flyers urging people to give their party vote for Labour.

As he is not on the Labour list and is not a Labour candidate, that is very generous of him.

Anyone want to bet that he will not be standing?

What if Benson-Pope wins?

September 18th, 2008 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The ODT reports that Benson-Pope may win Dunedin South:

The Otago Daily Times understands private polling being undertaken in the electorate shows Mr Benson-Pope would win in a canter should he decide to stand.

Now this may just be spin, or the ODT may have seen polling from a reliable company. Time will tell.

So what happens if David Benson-Pope wins. It depends on whether he stands for a registered political party or not. It is safe to assume he will not. He will stand as an Independent or for an unregistered party (such as Independent Labour).

This means we need to look at s191(8) of the Electoral Act 1993.

If any person whose name is endorsed on the writ pursuant to section 185 as a person declared to be elected as a member of Parliament, is an independent … the Chief Electoral Officer shall, for the purposes of applying subsection (7), deduct from the number of 120 the number of any such persons.

So there is no overhang. What it means is that the party which would have gained the 120th place in Parliament will lose that spot to Benson-Pope. There is roughly a 50/50 chance it would be National or Labour.

So Benson-Pope winning could end up giving the centre-left one extra seat at the expense of the centre-right. Or it could have no effect, with Benson-Pope just replacing a Labour MP.

Incidentally Claire Curran is No 45 on the Labour list, and will only come in Labour get more votes than in 2005. So Curran will miss out, if Benson-Pope do win.

I am no fan of David Benson-Pope, but to be fair to him he does have a legitimate reason to be aggrieved. Clark sacked Benson-Pope for telling just one lie, while Clark refuses to take any action against Winston despite Winston’s multiple lies.

Hat Tip: Homepaddock

Benson-Pope looks set to stand

September 1st, 2008 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The ODT talks to David Benson-Pope:

Asked yesterday whether he had decided about his future in politics, Mr Benson-Pope said it was not surprising his name was not on the list as he had not sought to be ranked there.

“I have no other comment to make other than to urge people to vote Labour with their party vote.

There could be some indication of his future on September 9, 10 or 11.

On those days, retiring MPs will give their valedictory speeches in Parliament.

Now that sounds like a man planning to contest the electorate vote.

Benson-Pope will have a problem though. If he stands as an Independent It will be illegal for him to advocate in writing for people to party vote Labour, unless he has the permission of Labour’s Mike Smith to do so!

National’s Conway Powell will be hoping Benson-Pope stands!

UPDATE: Benson-Pope has removed all Labour Party colours and logos from his office according to Home Paddock.

The battle for Dunedin South

July 5th, 2008 at 3:35 pm by David Farrar

The battle for Dunedin South gets more bitter, reports the ODT:

The bitter battle between two factions of Labour Party supporters in Dunedin South worsened this week with the resignation of a branch official as allegations of mismanagement came to light.

Julie Morton, a supporter of Dunedin South MP David Benson-Pope, resigned on Wednesday as secretary-treasurer of the South Dunedin branch….

The issues of concern raised by the current office-holders were in relation to the previous executive’s operations, including the transparency with correspondence, financial reporting and other concerns with respect to constitutional decision-making and destruction of electronic data. …

The Otago Daily Times has learned that in March this year, Mr Benson-Pope wrote to the incoming branch chairman Richard Page.

His letter questioned a $10,000 donation which was included in the 2006 financial accounts.

Records show the donation was made to the Montecillo Veterans Home and Hospital.

You know you have problems when the local MP is writing letters like that to branch committees. And I must say I am surprised any branch of a party would donate money to any cause apart from the party or the candidate.

At the April meeting, Mr Benson-Pope asked for a report clarifying who made the decision and when it was reported to, or discussed with, the branch.

However, the auditor had noted in his report on the 2006 accounts, some 11 months later, that there was no authorisation in any minutes made available to him.

“The hard drive of the branch computer was formatted prior to the recent handover, so the actual date of the creation of that document was impossible to assess,”
Mr Rackley said.

Destroyed documents etc. All very murky.

Does Benson-Pope sound like someone planning to fade quietly from the scene?

Benson-Pope again refuses to rule out independent candidacy

June 11th, 2008 at 10:02 am by David Farrar

TV3 showed last night David Benson-Pope again refused to rule out standing as an independent against Clare Curran in the upcoming election.

His problem is the moment he confirms he is going to do so, then Labour will automatically have to expel him. So it is not in his interest to do so, and it is not in Labour’s interest either.

Labour is already struggling to pass legislation. Steve Maharey is doing two jobs of MP and Vice-Chancellor because they need his vote in the House. He could have resigned by now without automatically triggering a by-election.

Now Labour could take action against Benson-Pope just for refusing to rule it out. But they need his vote, so they are going to pretend that they haven’t noticed his refusal to rule out standing against Curran.

The ODT also reports on Helen Clark’s words on the situation:

She had continued to involve Mr Benson-Pope in what the Government and Labour Party were doing and still “personally regarded him as a friend”.

However, during the interview, Miss Clark failed to mention Mr Benson-Pope by name.

The nameless one!

Will Labour expel Benson-Pope?

May 30th, 2008 at 10:26 am by David Farrar

The ODT notes that while David Benson-Pope has claimed there is no substance to the reports he is considering standing as an Independent candidate, he has refused to publicly rule it out. There will be a reason for that. Plus of course Benson-Pope lost his Cabinet post for his deceptive half truths, so even more reason to think he is planning something.

It would be very easy for David Benson-Pope to stop the speculation by simply saying “I can confirm that I will not be a candidate for the Dunedin South electorate in the 2008 election”.

Now Taito Philip Field was expelled from Labour for refusing to rule out the possibility he might stand for another party or as an Independent. Yes, that;s right – he wasn’t expelled for any of the reasons he is facing trial for corruption (in fact he was defended for his behaviour there) – it was the far more serious crime of potential disloyalty.

So will Benson-Pope get the same treatment for refusing to rule out an independent candidacy? Why on earth would he not rule it out, unless he wanted to keep the option open to him?

Benson-Pope may stand as an Indpendent

May 29th, 2008 at 8:37 am by David Farrar

An ODT story on the NZ Herald site says that David Benson-Pope may stand as an Independent for Dunedin South, campaigning for people to give Labour the party vote and him the electorate vote. It seems the electorate is very unhappy with what has happened:

The Otago Daily Times understands the MP has been telling people in the electorate that under MMP, they had a choice of voting for Labour with their party vote but that they could vote for any candidate.

Inquiries by the newspaper found a high level of discontent in parts of the electorate, particularly centred on the South Dunedin branch, which has the money and the people to mount a campaign in support of Mr Benson-Pope.

A women’s branch has disaffiliated itself from Dunedin South and is considering its options, which include affiliating to the Dunedin North electorate or the party’s Otago regional council.

The South Dunedin branch is now controlled by Benson-Pope supporters, although Labour electorate committee chairman Richard Good said yesterday the public comment from the branch was “nothing but 100 per cent’ behind Ms Curran.

That is a fascinating comment – how the “public comment” was 100% behind Claire Curran. One has to ask then what is the private comment?

Benson-Pope winning the seat could be beneficial to Labour as he would vote with them, and him winning the seat might gave them an extra List MP.

It’s hard being Labour

May 1st, 2008 at 11:12 am by David Farrar

To celebrate May Day, we have another reader video, showing how hard it is to be Labour.