Around the 15th or 16th former student, willing to be named to stand by their allegations, has now come forward. For around the fourth or fifth time Benson-Pope’s statements are contradicted.
The NZ Herald reports that Geana Earl alleges Benson-Pope slapped her on a thigh while she was abseiling on a school camp. And yes her parents also complained at the time.
Labour seem to have lost all intelligence and lost the manual on how to handle scandals like this. To help them out I tell them below what they should have done:
1) Take the Minister into a small room, stick H2 in there with him, and go through every allegation out there and made him swear on the bible/koran/dead mother’s grave the truth about each one. And don’t let him give a blanket “I refute this”. You stare him in the eyes and say “Miss Y says you slapped her thigh – do you absolutely deny this”. You do not rush in to defend someone without knowing all the facts.
2) After you have dealt with the existing allegations you threaten him with a hot poker and make him tell you about any other allegations which may emerge, not yet with the media. Just as Clinton’s staff had to do with him when he was running for President.
3) You then decide how much veracity there is to the allegations and decide on a course of action ranging from attack the accusers to go on Oprah and break down in tears confessing all. The subject of the attack does not get to decide this unilaterally. Others with more detachment have to be involved in this. You send his or her friends in to counsel them as to the right course of action.
4) You only have one strategy, not four different ones which change daily from total support to agreeing he misled Parliament.
5) You make your decisions based on hard cold logic, not emotion. It doesn’t matter that you hate the thought of Investigate Magazine being vindicated. It doesn’t matter that the thought of Rodney Hide gloating on the news makes you violently ill. It doesn’t matter that you don’t want to give Judith Collins another Ministerial resignation. That is all based on emotions, not an analysis of what actions are politically necessary.
Labour launched Kiwi Saver this week. In theory this should be a stunningly popular thing as they are bribing people with their own money which always goes down well. However it has been almost invisible because of Labour’s handling of Benson-Pope allegations. And in two weeks when the House resumes it will spark back to life if he is still a Minister.