Sludge Report #17 – Dover! – Reader Reaction
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Dover Samuels...Stood Down...Denies Allegations…Sort Of
Sludge Report #17
In response to…. Sludge Report #16 - Dover, Dover, Dover!… From Christchurch – Congratulations… And The Kennedy Precedent… From an old reporter's notebook: The Moyle Muldoon and Carmen
SLUDGE: Sludge On Samuels - "Initially when the Dover Samuels sexual allegations story broke, Sludge was in two minds whether to report the scandal at all. Initially..." See... Sludge Report #16 - Dover, Dover, Dover! in the Headlines wire.
From Christchurch – Congratulations And The Kennedy Precedent
Congratulations on raising the most disturbing issue of the Dover scenario-and one as you say, that seems to be ignored by media. The relationship was inappropriate and involved a huge power imbalance. I remember the case in America of the Kennedy who had sex with the babysitter and had to stand down., perhaps this could be used as a precedent? The implication of many media( and Labour Party reports) seems to be that it is ok to cheat on your wife, sleep with girls some thirty years younger as long as they are over the age of consent. Such behaviour by the Nats would be almost expected of a party of privacy and pragmatism- but from the Labour Party who promotes notions of ethics, equality and values it does appear somewhat hypocritical.
From an old reporter's notebook: The Moyle Muldoon and Carmen
Unless things have changed in the press gallery, it would be unfair to see the Dover Samuels caffuffle as being racist in that Maori MPs are allegedly being put under the spotlight more than the pakeha ones. Believe it or not going back years there was always some reluctance by most reporters to publish the sexual or sometimes simply drunken indiscretions of Members of Parliament.
However the MPs didn't always obey the rules themselves. I instance the case of National's Rob Muldoon when he mistakenly thought Agriculture Minister Colin Moyle had made an interjection regarding his probity. He turned on Moyle and asked if it was true he had been picked up by the police on the street in circumstances which Muldoon implied were "homosexual".
Whatever Moyle had done out on the town, the police decided there was nothing in it (and they weren't all that sympathetic to Labour cabinet ministers). Also the context in those days was that Carmen (Trevor Rupe) ran a well known tranvestite entertainment club to which a number of MPs amongst many other Wellingtonians used to go for a night out. Moyle's mistake, a la Dover Samuels?, was to deny furiously that anything had happened at all, noxious or innocuous. When it came out the police had spoken to him he was virtually forced to resign for "misleading the house".
Noone I knew in the Press Gallery at the time thought Moyle was guilty of any sexual indiscretion but them's the breaks when you were dealing with a master of the innuendo like Muldoon.
Ironically later when Muldoon's own sexual indiscretions became widely known around Parliament the media trod very carefully, knowing how litigious the man was, but they trod all right. There was even a television series shown about unusual houses in Wellington. This was done simply to get on film one of Muldoon's bits on the side who was married to someone else. We couldn't broadcast the real story because a deal was done with the lady's husband so that no legal evidence became available.
One also recalls the famous occasion when Carmen (Trevor Rupe) was called before the bar of the House to answer why 'she' had confirmed publicly that there were homosexual MPs. 'She' turned up in a Rolls Royce I believe, dressed to the nines and embarrassed the Parliamentary Messengers (known as 'pigs trotters' in those days) by asking to use the toilet. Firstly they didn't know whether to send Carmen to the Men's or the Women's and then they had the problem at that time of very few women's toilets available to service the (male) MPs.
New Zealand's version of Private Eye back in those days, Cock magazine, published anything without fear or favour including one example of a 'couple' of National backbenchers who were breaking their marriage vows with a little extra-curricular when in Wellington and away from their spouses. In reply to a lawyers letter threatening all hell if Cock published the extra marital affair, Cock simply published the letter. The magazine went out of existence after the police took it to court alleging indecency (unsuccessfully) but kept the heat up behind the scenes on its publisher, Chris Wheeler.
However the mainstream media who lived in fear and trepidation of Rob Muldoon did try hard to open up a lot of the 'scandal' which inevitably occurs whenever you gather together a well-paid 'club' of sexually active people such as Parliament.
In our defence, most of the media people would only go after the obvious hypocrits who were saying one thing in public and doing another in private. Muldoon for instance delayed moving into the new Prime Minister's residence in the Hutt Valley for some time because then his wife would have had to join him in Wellington during the week.
© Sludge 2000