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Clark Must Declare What She Will Do With Maharey

The Prime Minister must tell the New Zealand public what she will do with Steve Maharey given Judge Goddard's finding in the Rankin case that he behaved inappropriately and unprofessionally, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"The Judge's ruling on the Rankin case makes it clear that Mr Maharey crossed the line in his dealings with Ms Rankin," Mrs Shipley said.

"Helen Clark has made big promises of high standards from her Ministers. Labour says it will 'set new standards both in terms of behaviour and performance so that we govern for the people and are accountable to them'.

"Helen Clark can't now stand by and condone this sort of obnoxious sexist behaviour from a Minister she expects to set an example.

"Mr Maharey compounded his gross insult to women in the public service by trying to spin media with the line 'The judgement indicates that appropriate behaviour was carried out throughout and that's what I've said consistently and I'm pleased that's the view'.

"That is patently untrue. Judge Goddard says, in his ruling, that Mr Maharey's use of 'indecent expletives' in a 'deliberate' way was 'less than professional' and was 'an inappropriate way for a Minister to address any Chief Executive, let alone a female one'. Mr Maharey must retract his false claim that the Judge found no inappropriateness.

"Judge Goddard went on to say that had Rankin resigned as a result of Steve Maharey's behaviour he would have settled that in the Employment Court. But given that she stood up to Mr Maharey under the State Sector Act she had no remedy.

"Helen Clark hasn't hesitated to discipline others who have made mistakes. New Zealanders need leadership and consistency when issues of inappropriate behaviour by Ministers arise.

"I demand that she tell New Zealanders what she will do with Mr Maharey. If she doesn't she is showing utter contempt for the public," Jenny Shipley said.

FROM JUDGE GODDARD'S RULING

(Point 62, Page 34) "During the meeting Mr Maharey made extensive use of indecent expletives which I do not need to repeat. On the evidence I have heard the Minister was not using them, as some people do, as thoughtless punctuation but, rather, deliberately and with feeling, for emphasis. Clearly this was an inappropriate way for a Minister to address any Chief Executive, let alone a female one.'

(Point 108, Page 47) "I do not find entirely convincing Mr Maharey's evidence that, without his support as the responsible Minister, reappointment is unlikely to have taken place.

(Point 139, Page 60) "... the unfortunate remarks made to the plaintiff by Mr Maharey"

(Point 147, Page 62) "As to Mr Maharey's behaviour, the plaintiff's main remaining concern seems to relate to his use of expletives. It is difficult to understand the Minister's action and the use of the words referred to in evidence in the circumstances of a meeting attended by at least one other Minister and no doubt the Minister's officials. I think that the Minister accepted that his behaviour in this respect was less than professional, if I understood his evidence correctly. If other breaches of contract had been proved, this would have been an aggravating feature if proximately close in time to any proved breaches. But I have some difficulty in concluding that such language is, by itself a separate breach of contract although if it had induced a resignation it would have been difficult to defend."

Ends


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