Saturday, 21 July 2007

Flying by the seat of his pant-ies

Beleaguered Labour Party Cabinet Minister David Benson-Pope continues to fly by the seat of his "pants", as yet another scandal emerges with his fingerprints all over it.

Benson-Pope is accused of political interference in the public service, by forcing the sacking of Madeleine Setchell from a senior communications role at the Ministry of the Environment.

Setchell fully disclosed she was in a relationship with Kevin Taylor - chief press secretary for National Party leader John Key - when she applied for the job, and was appointed under that knowledge.

However, just three days after she was hired, a "staff member" from the office of David Benson-Pope (Minister for the Environment) called the Ministry's Chief Executive putting on some not-so-subtle political pressure that the appointment could be "an issue".

The MP has denied any knowledge of such behaviour, and has refused to discuss the issue (quelle surprise). PM Hillin Cluck arrived back in the country today, and also refused to speak to reporters. She will feel the heat in Parliament next week, but is expected to once again stand by her man despite the evidence.

The Dunedin South MP has been keeping his tail down recently, after a long run of scandals and investigations, including Tennis-gate, Nightie-gate and Panty-gate. However, it seems he couldn't blend into the background for too long.

BP was one of the guest speakers at a Local Government conference in Dunedin last week, and managed to give a speech so childish and offensive that a number of delegates walked out in disgust.

Meanwhile the shocking revelations by Investigate magazine and others about the late night habits of "panty slut boy" still hang in the background despite attempts to bury the story.

Not a good look for any Cabinet Minister, especially not the former Associate Minister of Education and current Minister of Social Development (including the Child, Youth and Family Service).

* Dominion Post: Benson-Pope in another denial scandal
* 3 News: Benson-Pope under fire
* 3 News: National keeps the pressure on Benson-Pope
* NZ Herald: Clark will face questions about Benson-Pope in Parliament
* Whale Oil: John Armstrong: Yellow card for political interference

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