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Maharey Ducks For Cover On Apology

Social Services Minister, Steve Maharey, is playing foolish games over whether he used four-letter words in his dealings with Christine Rankin, National's Social Services spokesperson, Bob Simcock, said today.

"Despite being criticised by Chief Judge Tom Goddard, the Minister still refuses to accept that he behaved in an inappropriate way and still refuses to apologise to Mrs Rankin. He has taken the astonishing step, for a Minister, of criticising a Judge's ruling.

"The Minister said in Parliament this afternoon that he didn't 'swear at anyone', yet the judgement in the case talks of Mr Maharey making extensive use of indecent expletives, words the Judge said 'I do not need to repeat.'

In the words of Judge Goddard: "On the evidence I heard, the minister was not using them (expletives), 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."

"Mr Maharey's denial today of any offence makes a mockery of Prime Minister, Helen Clark's statement that the Minister has 'taken on board what the Judge has said'.

"This boorish behaviour by the Minister is totally unacceptable. How can anyone believe his behaviour will change if he is unable to accept it was inappropriate in the first place?

"The Government is counting on the public support of Judge Goddard's decision on Mrs Rankin to extend to support for Mr Maharey's behaviour. This is misrepresenting the situation. The only course of action is for the Minister to apologise.

Ends


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