RESPONSE PRESENTED UNDER STANDING ORDERS 160-463
ON APPLICATION OF MR REX WIDERSTROM
RELATING TO A REFERENCE MADE BY RON MARK ON 30 JULY 2008
In the general debate on Wednesday, 30 July 2008, Ron Mark made an interjection during part of a speech in which Rt Hon Winston Peters referred to me in such a way as to be readily identifiable. In the context of Mr Peters’ remarks, Mr Mark interjected with the word “paedophile”.
No reasonable person listening to proceedings at that time could fail to have understood that Mr Mark’s reference was to me. This was presumably a reference to my arrest in 2002 on several charges in Australia that were later subject to a nolle pro sequi with prejudice when the complainant-much to her credit-admitted that the entire thing was a fabrication.
Such is the opprobrium in which child sex offenders are held within the community, there can be no worse slur to offer against someone’s character. To do so against someone who has suffered the horror of being falsely accused of such an offence, only makes Mr Mark’s behaviour more offensive. A false accusation of the nature of that made by Mr Mark has a major effect on the life of an individual and his or her family.
I have always had a good relationship with Ron Mark and a lot of time for him. But there is no excusing his use of parliamentary privilege to label a critic a paedophile. It would be a good look for him to apologise for the remark, otherwise I suspect he will face questions at Rimutaka meet the candidate meetings about why he behaved in such a way.