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Still loose ends in Benson-Pope case

Judith Collins MP - National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

12 March 2006

Still loose ends in Benson-Pope case

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says she remains convinced that David Benson-Pope is not fit to remain as a Minister because of his misleading statements to the Parliament and to the public.

"Helen Clark has signalled that she is prepared to tolerate a lowering of the bar when it comes to Ministerial standards, but before she can 'move on' a number of unanswered questions still need to be addressed.

"Does Mr Benson-Pope now accept that 'something clearly happened' with a tennis ball and will he apologise to those whom he described publicly as school bullies and liars?

"Will Helen Clark and Michael Cullen also do the same?

"Will Helen Clark retract her statement that the young women who complained about Mr Benson Pope's behaviour should 'put up or shut up'?

"Will Mr Benson-Pope (and other Labour Ministers) correct their answers to Parliament in light of the fact that two teachers in two days discounted his version of events - a version of events used by Michael Cullen, among others, to defend Mr Benson-Pope?

"When did Mr Benson-Pope first tell Helen Clark 'something clearly happened' with a tennis ball?

"When did Helen Clark find out about the complaints laid with the school, including those from the teacher and those from the students?

"Will Mr Benson-Pope stand by the claim that he did not act outside of school policy or act inappropriately (made in this Parliament) in light of the complaints and confessions mentioned above?

"Why did Mr Benson-Pope say it was for the police to release the report into assault allegations, then proceed to leak favourable parts of the report to a Sunday newspaper?

"Did he receive any instructions, or ask for any advice, about how he should handle the abandoned speech to the Tenth Australasian Conference on child abuse?"

Judith Collins isn't holding her breath for unequivocal answers.

"Even in his most recent interviews Mr Benson-Pope has been unable to provide straight answers to many of the questions put to him. Unless he clears the air his ability to act as an effective Minister will remain severely compromised," she says.

ENDS

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