Is it called bullygate or popegate? 🙂
Anyway onto more serious analysis of the problems facing Mr Benson-Pope. And they are quite grave. As TV3 said yesterday he faces allegations which may not just end his ministerial career, but even force him from Parliament. Not for his discipline methods in the 1980s, but for the fact he has denied them categorically both inside and outside the House.
It is possible of course the allegations are untrue, but five different accusers is a huge number, and I understand more are coming forward by the day. And these are not teenagers but adults in their 30s. According to the NZ Herald one of the men making the accusations is a Labour Party supporter.
It was incredibly foolish of David Benson-Pope to deny categorically the allegations (assuming they are true), considering how many witnesses there must have been. I have some sympathy for an ex-teacher being judged today off disciplinary methods of 20 years ago. If he had just said that he will not get into details, but regrets if any of his ex pupils felt his disciplinary methods were inappropriate, then the issue may be over. But like with Colin Moyle the denials are now the issue.
Peter Metcalfe makes the point that the Government has known of these allegations for months (they have in fact been around since 2000), and did nothing at all to investigate it. In hindsight a bad move.
Sir Humphrey has a wonderful parody of the alleged activities concerning tennis balls had taken place at Abu Grabib Prison.
No Right Turn says the allegations are of sadistic behaviour, well beyond what was acceptable under the law. I agree that hitting a student in the face is clearly unlawful, but some of the other allegations may fall into the inappropriate rather than illegal category. Thus I am uncertain this is simply a matter for the Police.
My sympathy goes out to the staff in Mr Benson-Pope’s ministerial office. These situations are always doubly difficult for the staff, as they are loyal to their boss who risks losing his job, but of course many of their jobs are at risk also if he is sacked.