The event reminds me of something that happened to me in my first year at Parliament in 1996. I had the unfortunate (or fortunate) experience of being involved in something similar – without the social media fallout.
I wasn’t the bar patron that night. I was one of two people in the fishbowl.
It was after a National Party “caucus event” (code for a boozy night). In those days these shindigs went into the wee small hours and most people got well and truly liquored.
As I recall I left the party with a (girl) friend and ended up rolling around on the floor of a junior Cabinet minister’s office in Bowen House, next to Parliament.
It was late, the lights were on but it was dark outside. I couldn’t see out – so I had a false sense of security.
As we left the office we went past the patient cleaners in the corridor who were waiting and I jumped into the lift and went home. When I arrived at work the next day my boss Linda Clark pulled me aside and laughed in my face.
“Garner,” she cried, “I know everything.”
How could she possibly know what I had got up to last night? There was no social media then, our cellphones didn’t send photos and the internet barely worked.
But she’d got a phone call from Parliament’s chief pigeon – Kiwiblog’s David Farrar.
He knew everyone and news had travelled fast. He couldn’t wait to tell my boss.
Heh, Duncan’s story is correct, except for one detail.
I didn’t call Linda. I called Duncan to give him a friendly hassle and Linda answered his phone. I said I’d call back when he was in. Linda asked if she could help. Her assumption was that I might have some political news for them for a possible story.
I replied to Linda that I was just calling to hassle Duncan, and Linda put 2+2 together in a millisecond and exclaimed “Farrar, what is her name?”. I laughed and declined to confirm or deny but then Linda did several minutes of her famous interrogation style and eventually I folded, she got the details out of me, and yes poor Duncan arrived at work to have Linda loudly proclaiming knowledge of what had happened.
So guilty to telling Linda, but only because she answered Duncan’s phone as he wasn’t in yet!’