Andrea Vance in the Dom Post reports:
National MP Tau Henare is refusing to apologise for calling a teenage select committee submitter “a liar”.
James Sleep, 18, convener of the the Council of Trade Unions youth sector, gave evidence to the transport and industrial relations committee on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill last month.
He said the list MP used “bullyboy tactics” by interrupting his submission and accusing him of lying about his evidence in “a bit of a tirade”.
“I was telling the story about how a worker had been sacked under the 90-day trial … We have several cases … and in my written submission I had talked about another story and he just went off his head really.
“He interrupted and said: ‘You are just a liar, you are bullshitting.’ I went on and he stopped [me] again: ‘You’re just lying, you are misleading us.”‘
I guess clashing with Tau at a select committee is safer than jumping in front of John Hayes’ car!
Mr Sleep said he expected Mr Henare to say sorry. “The letter did not contain an apology to the thousands of young union members I was representing, nor have we – the CTU youth sector – received a personal apology direct from Tau Henare.”
I wonder how many younger union members are aware that James represents them!
Mr Henare said he would not apologise. “Why would I apologise for a little turkey who got found out lying? He was reading out a submission and I was following it and in two parts … it was a completely different story.
“He’ll get over it and if he doesn’t, well, then, too bad … He’ll learn from his experience.”
He added: “Conway and his henchmen weren’t even there, so how could they complain?”
Labour MP Carol Beaumont, who sits on the committee, said she was concerned about how Mr Sleep was treated.
“Leaping into accusing somebody of lying and in quite an aggressive manner, I don’t think is appropriate.”
Mr Henare responded: “Quite frankly, who cares what Carol Beaumont says.”
Oh Tau. Always the diplomat.
Anyway I have a way to resolve this. Presumably there is a recording of the “story” James told to the select committee. Labour should release the recording and James should arrange for the subject of the story to come forward and confirm it is a true story. That way he will prove that he was telling the truth. It will also allow the employer to give their side of the story.