One of the amusing blog fights of recent times has been between Brian Edwards and Duncan Garner regarding an alleged incident between Garner and Chris Carter. Some extracts – first Brian:
But first a little history. It is no secret around Parliament that, roughly 11 months ago, Garner and Carter had a verbal stoush in the Auckland Koru Club. Following the release of the report detailing the 2008 travel expenses of Labour Ministers, Garner had run a TV3 story alleging that Carter was a big-spending Minister whose travel could not be justified in what was essentially a domestic portfolio – Education. The story also referred to Carter’s long-time partner and travelling companion, Peter Kaiser, and included the name of the primary school of which Kaiser is principal.
Not surprisingly, there was bad blood between the two men. Carter and Darren Hughes were in the Koru Club waiting for their flight to Wellington to be called when Garner approached them. He is reported as having said, ‘Travelling on the fucking taxpayer again, Chris.’ Carter told him to ‘fuck off!’
Carter had already taken his seat on the plane when Garner, who had boarded later, stopped next to him, jabbed his finger into Carter’s chest and said loudly, ‘I am going to fucking get you, Carter. If it takes me to Christmas I am going to fucking destroy you.’ Sitting directly behind Carter was Dame Margaret Bazley. Appalled by what she had heard, she commented loudly, ‘What a disgraceful man. You don’t have to put up with rubbish like that on a plane, Mr Carter.’ Garner moved on down the plane. …
‘If I am wrong, I invite Duncan Garner to respond to this blog and, providing nothing in it is defamatory, I undertake to publish that response unedited.
‘If I’m right, TV3 should be considering whether their Political Editor is fit to hold the job.’
Duncan responded on the blog:
I have never denied there was an incident between myself and Chris, indeed I told everyone about it at the time because I was shocked that Chris would call me by a four letter word – that your version of this story doesn’t reflect.
So Carter called Garner a c**t first? Might be some other four letter word.
Unfortunately your version of it is very, very wrong and you do yourself no favours.
You have relied on the word of Chris Carter and even Phil Goff can’t rely on that.
Yes Darren Hughes was there and he will confirm what happened if people wish to approach him.
Darren may even wish to write on this site?
But why rely on my word? Surely the Chief Whip, Mr Hughes will launch a defence of the incident for Mr Carter. Or will he?
I bet he doesn’t. Because Carter behaved disgracefully in the Koru Club that evening and provoked the incident.
So far Darren has (wisely) not said anything.
I will consider posting the full version on the 3News website tomorrow. I certainly won’t do it here to satisfy former broadcaster and Labour Party raffle ticket seller Brian Edwards.
Oh I hope he does.
Brian then responded:
Duncan, the post you complain of, was headed ‘Incident on an Air New Zealand Flight’. What the post was about is your allegedly having said to Carter, ‘‘I am going to fucking get you, Carter. If it takes me to Christmas I am going to fucking destroy you.’ If I were in your shoes, I would consider this the more damaging allegation made about you. Yet not only is there no denial of this event in your reply to me, it is not even mentioned. I would consider that admission by omission. If in fact Carter ‘behaved disgracefully’ to you in the Koru Club before the flight, then you may well feel that what you are alleged to have said to him on the plane was understandable. But it is no less unacceptable from the political editor of a major television network.
To which Duncan responds:
I ’swear’ I did not say to Chris; “I am going to fucking get you, if it takes me to Christmas I am going to destroy you.”
And I certainly did not touch Carter – that’s not my style. If I touched Carter why doesn’t he lay an assault charge? Because it simply did not happen.
Brian you have taken the Carter version and you have taken it hook line and sinker. It is wrong. Simple.
As I have always said there was an exchange. I was first to talk about it. Carter never said anything about it for months.
It’s Carter who is now running to you almost a year later still trying to make excuses for his behaviour.
As I have said Darren Hughes was there – he saw it – he may wish to put his version on the website. But I totally refute and reject your version.
Then Richard Harman joins the fray:
I have the privelege of producing Duncan on “the Nation”. I have questioned him about your allegations. I am satisfied they are substantially wrong. I thought his reportage of Chris Carter’s indulgent travel was excellent. I can testify that both Duncan and “The Nation” continue to have excellent relations with the Labour caucus. I think Duncan did journalism proud with his journalistic pursuit of Mr Carter.
However I would not expect Duncan to get any credit on this blog which seems to have a vendetta against him — and any programme he is associated with.
Brian responds to Duncan:
We now have a ‘conflict of evidence’. You claim you did not use these words to Carter; I have approached Carter and asked him whether he stands by his version of events on the plane. He says that he does. I wasn’t there, but I do know for certain that what you said to Carter on the plane was overheard and that it was extremely unpleasant.
Brian also responds to Harman:
Absolute rubbish. Your defence of a colleague is admirable, but I suggest you read all the posts on Garner. If, having done so, you decide that he was not engaging in a personal campaign againt Carter, your judgement is less than I would have expected from you. In my review of your first edition of The Nation, where I thought Garner did a particularly poor interview with Steven Joyce, you will also find this sentence: ‘I have grown to respect Duncan Garner’s down-to-earth, no-nonsense analysis of politics. His interviewing improved significantly in later programmes. Judy thought he was very good. I don’t think this amounts to a vendetta.
Gordon McBride joins in:
Brian ….. I work with Duncan. I can tell you he isn’t a homophobe (the sauna shot was to illustrate Carter’s use of his credit card to pay for a sauna in Berlin). He doesn’t play favourites in his coverage; nor does he use his position in the “Get Carter” way you perceive. He’s certainly a robust character though and I can believe he’d give as good as got in any exchange.
For my 2c, Duncan is not at all partisan. He went after National with the “secret tapes”in 2008 with as much glee as he went after Carter with his excessive travel.