Friday, March 03, 2006

More Benson-Pope

The Government has mounted a major attempt to save David Benson-Pope. First according to a Press article by Colin Espiner that isn't on-line:
The change of heart followed Benson-Pope's press secretary Peter Coleman taking leave after he was disciplined for leaking selective parts of a police report on Benson-Pope to a newspaper and then denying it.

Prime Minister Helen Clark's chief press secretary, David Lewis, yesterday assumed Coleman's responsibilities, cancelled Benson-Pope's afternoon appointments and co-ordinated interviews with the media.
The real question is why this wasn't done months ago when the tennis ball allegations came out. Michael Cullen was even dropping heavy hints about how Benson-Pope "has a story to tell" but from his office, there was only silence. The only bit in the excerpt that I find questionable is about Peter Coleman taking leave. He was disciplined a month ago so it seems to me that the excuse for his garden leave is Ninth Floor spin to indicate that he's leaving in disgrace. Which is a bit harsh considering that he was only doing what Benson-Pope wanted him to do.

Alas fronting up to the media hasn't helped Benson-Pope as much as it would have had he done it earlier. His credibility has been holed beneath the water line and no matter how hard the governmental bilge pumps are working, the sharks are still circling. It has gotten to the stage where Bill English said in the house yesterday that Benson-Pope had lied but he was not called upon to withdraw his statement.

And the hits keep coming. The NZ Herald reported this morning that a teacher whom Benson-Pope had mentioned in his defence against a slapping allegation is saying that she was not in a position to see what happened. In other words, the only person that is willing to testify that Benson-Pope did not slap Geana Earl is Benson-Pope himself. I daresay a Jury would regard the allegation as proven.