Saturday, March 26, 2005

Spinning for a comeback

Lianne Dialziel appears in the Press this morning discussing the events that lead to her resignation in an article that is not online. She now claims that when she was asked by TVNZ whether she knew how TV3 had obtained a copy of a media strategy paper, she didn't reply as the NZPA reported:
No. They didn't discuss it with me.
but supposedly was (according to what Lianne said about the transcript:
No, they didn't discuss it with me.
The comma, according to Lianne, is supposed to transform her statement from an outright lie into something deliberately evasive, which Lianne thinks wouldn't have cost her her job.

There is a slight problem. Her original defence was that she couldn't remember saying "no" and had to resign when the report came out.
Ms Dalziel last night appeared to question PA's version. She told television: "At the end of the day there was a statement in the media that I can't verify one way or the other. I don't recall saying it in those terms.

"The critical word is the word 'no'. If the word 'no' isn't there then it isn't an outright lie. If the word 'no' is there, then it is and I have to accept that."

NZ Herald 21.02.2004
It gets worse. When the story broke out:
Helen Clark this afternoon phoned NZPA editor John Crowley to ask whether he could confirm that in the interview Ms Dalziel had used the word "no" in response to the question.

In discussions with Crowley, the prime minister said she accepted the veracity of the NZPA report, and his assurance that the story the agency had published was accurate.

NZ Herald 20.02.2004
Are we seriously supposed to believe that the comma defence never came up when the issue was investigated? Or is it more likely that Lianne is spinning to downplay the gravity of her initial wrongdoing? If so, she seems to have learned little from the entire episode and is not fit to return to Cabinet.