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Benson-Pope must be accountable

Benson-Pope must be accountable

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says the Social Development Minister has lost all credibility and “he should do the right thing and resign”.

“David Benson-Pope has refused to front up to the media and the public of New Zealand to fully explain his position.

“Fair-minded Kiwis would be interested to hear his side of the story in some detail, but so far the Minister has declined, opting instead to hide behind Parliamentary rules, semantic arguments and a tightly rehearsed script.

“If Mr Benson-Pope is not free to take media opportunities how can he promote, and be an effective advocate for, the policies of his Department? Clearly his work as a Minister is suffering as a result of these distractions that are of his own making.”

Ms Collins says she is disgusted by Mr Benson-Pope’s half-hearted apology for ‘upset’, having earlier called the shower and dorm room allegations a ‘nonsense’.

“Helen Clark went one step further and told these young women to ‘put up or shut up’. Well, they did put up Prime Minister - and now you owe them an apology too.

“David Benson-Pope has been in an untenable situation ever since the police found a prima facie case against him for historic assault allegations.

“Now it seems he was indeed spoken to about the shower and dorm room incidents and it’s simply ludicrous for him to still be claiming that he did nothing ‘inappropriate’.

“Teacher unions agree that they would have had policies in place about this sort of behaviour in 1997. This poses more questions about Mr Benson-Pope’s judgment given he’s a former senior figure in the union movement.

“Mr Benson-Pope’s credibility is shot. It’s time Helen Clark replaced him with a Minister who is at the very least prepared to back up their statements to the public and Parliament,” says Ms Collins.

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