Paula Bennett threatens legal action over allegations

Written By: - Date published: 9:41 am, July 4th, 2017 - 122 comments
Categories: crime, law, paula bennett - Tags: , , ,

If you’re on Facebook you may have seen something about this already – Paula Bennett threatens legal action over online post

A man is being accused of harassing Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett after he posted a video online alleging she committed a number of serious crimes in her past.

Lawyers for Bennett have sent a cease and desist letter to the man ordering him to remove an open letter which they say has been shared online more than 5000 times.

Her lawyers have declared a “categorical rejection” by Bennett of the allegations.

Facebook has removed both the letter and the video however the man has posted a series of follow-up videos in response that remain online, while the letter has since been shared on other sites.

The allegations in the “open letter to Paula Bennett” were varied and colourful. Absent proof, Bennett is as entitled as anyone else to the presumption of innocence. On the other hand if the substantive allegations are verified, then I think it’s fair to say that her political career is in deep shit.

Obviously anyone commenting on this needs to be careful – Retired judge warns public after Paula Bennett threatens lawsuit over online post.

For the safety of this blog comments here should not link to any copies or discussion, mention any names, or repeat any of the allegations. Please stick to the publicly stated facts.

Comments are now all in moderation.

122 comments on “Paula Bennett threatens legal action over allegations”

  1. Some of the allegations should be easily checked – dates and all. Don’t think Bennett will go down because of this. I’m not really a fan of this tbh.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 1.1

      It should be checked by independent sources outside of any government ministry.

      Obviously it is in the interest of the public to do so and as the minister has categorically denied the allegations there won’t be a story…as long as everything checks out.

      Or we are about to see a spectacular exit.

  2. Takere 2

    If it farts like a pig,walks like pig & smells like a pig …. you can be pretty sure its a pig.

    • Or someone pretending to be a pig and they are a really good actor or someone who loves eating pig and smears pig fat all over themselves to taste the pig through their pores or …

  3. savenz 3

    Beneficiaries are in jail for this type of crime. Paula should be investigated just like the flimsy proof that send other bene’s to jail.

    In Paula’s case it’s a lot worse [NW: no specifics] the deception from the government and are now deputy PM!

    Should be pretty easy to track down they guy and the other character’s mentioned.

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, Paula.

    [not sure who did the moderation above, but that’s the second one you’ve had. Putting you in pre-moderation until you respond letting us know that you’ve seen this and agree to not post specifics or make comment that put the site owners legally at risk. If you are unsure where the boundary is, ask. – weka]

  4. One Two 4

    Using someone’s past to control them, is not a new or innovative strategy…

    I expect the percentages would be substantially high enough for frameworks to collapse, if the ‘truth’ was available for mass consumption

    When an entire system reeks the way politics does, the percentages in that field are likely to be obscenely high..

  5. Carolyn_nth 5

    In fighting between Nat factions? Reminds me of the Dirty Politics practitioners’ MO.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 5.1

      The person behind this might have repeatedly tried to have this investigated for the last decade, only to (not surprisingly) be shut down.

      The simplest explanation is probably he was frustrated with injustice, not involved in some elaborate Nation faction fight.

      • Carolyn_nth 5.1.1

        Bradbury on Daily Blog reports an explanation by the claimant. Apparently KDC and Peters wouldn’t go near it in 2014.

        It does seem targeted at the elections.

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          You think the people doing the allegations are disgruntled Nats? I hadn’t picked that at all.

          If one wanted to have the allegations taken more seriously, now would be the time to do it.

          • Carolyn_nth 5.1.1.1.1

            Who benefits?

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Good question. The people making the allegations appear to want justice done for historical wrongs and because they see the politician as being a hypocrite who shouldn’t be in a position of power because of that. If the allegations are true then that seems reasonable to me. There would also be potential benefit for the country, but I agree with the analysis that it might blowback in various ways.

              One of the things that interests me is that he’s speaking from the parts of society where people often don’t vote. This is part of the voice of the missing million. Some of those people are very angry.

  6. millsy 6

    Ive seen the post on FB before it was taken down,

    Without going into details, it basically concerns Bennett not practicing what she preaches.

    These allegations wouldnt suprise me, and if proven, it would be one hell of a scalp.

    I extremely doubt that the allegations would be repeated under parliamentary privilige, for the sole reason that there is no proof behind it.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 6.1

      A bit presumptuous don’t you think? Besides prosecution is discretionary.

    • Richard Christie 6.2

      . it basically concerns Bennett not practicing what she preaches

      No it doesn’t, that’s a limp description.

      [deleted]

      [Don’t post the allegations. Read the post, it’s clear what the boundaries are for this post. Expect a ban if you do this again – weka]

      • Richard Christie 6.2.1

        I won’t argue against your decision but would point out

        1) making allegations against others is not against any law that I know of. It happens in the public sphere all the time. People are constantly accusing others of misdemeanours and degrees of wrong doing

        2) if allegations are made, the onus is on those making them to be able to support them, if they can’t they open themselves to civil or criminal libel action.

        3) the letter was an open letter, which as I outline below, has implications.

        I am of the opinion that viewed in this light (judicial) attempts to stifle reporting content of an “open letter” are an abuse of process, made in this case to protect the establishment. The correct way forward is for the accused to ignore the accusations or prosecute the author of the open letter, an open letter directly implies that its author stands behind its content and is prepared to defend it.

        Historically, in the Dreyfus affair, Zola was prosecuted for libel for publishing “J’accuse” but Zola and his supporters held the high moral ground in posterity. “J’accuse”, also an open letter, was a deliberate attempt to invite libel action. I assume this one is too.

        The directive to shut down reporting of the content of an open letter raises important questions. I think they merit discussion.

        • Sacha 6.2.1.1

          Under NZ’s defamation laws it is the publisher of this website that risks legal sanctions, not you or me. Let’s respect that. Have a full discussion on your own self-published website if it’s important to you.

        • weka 6.2.1.2

          “The directive to shut down reporting of the content of an open letter raises important questions. I think they merit discussion.”

          You are free to discuss the issues around reporting so long as you don’t repeat the allegations. As Sacha points out, it’s not you or me that will get into trouble if you overstep the mark, it’s the people who own the site. I’m not willing to assume that any site owner would want to take that risk.

          I’d also point out that an author gave clear guidelines in the post about what was ok, it’s pretty disrespectful to go against that. And as the moderator who did much of the clean up in the past 24 hours, I didn’t appreciate having to spend that time, it wasn’t brief.

          I really wish people would take more care in those regards and think about the wellbeing of the site and how their actions affect the admin and authors, not just the personal need to say something.

          As for the legal boundaries, I also find that interesting. If this doesn’t go away I suspect we’re going to learn quite a bit about defamation etc. Here’s what the retired judge commented,

          “It could be a breach of confidence, it could be intentional infliction of emotional distress … it could be the sharing of information under the Harmful Digital Communications Act or it could be defamatory.”

          https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/retired-judge-warns-public-after-paula-bennett-threatens-lawsuit-over-online-post

          I assume the defamation isn’t the making of allegations, its whether that act damages the persons reputation or not. That’s going to be contextual as well as factual.

        • lprent 6.2.1.3

          Clearly Richard you don’t appear to understand much about the legal position of sites. We are publishers of your words. And we do this on less that $150 per month.

          Now I have only been in court cases twice for this site in almost 19 years. Once for the dipshit Slater trying to hack my computers, and the other for one of his dimwitted mates trying a private prosecution and losing badly.

          The latter cost tens of thousands of dollars. I still haven’t recovered any of that because of a judge that hasn’t ruled on it yet. I also can’t talk about details because of court orders in another case.

          In other words that miserable legal idiot cost more than the site has in its lifetime, and I am gagged.

          Basically if you want to argue about the laws that govern this anf other sites then do so. But attempt to get me to spread unproven facts without backing and I will happily provide you the incentive you need to run your own site. I don’t tolerate idiots well. They are too costly.

          Otherwise go and figure out how to change the laws, and tell me when you have done so.

          Generally I agree with the most of the current laws that govern this site as being better than anything else I can come up with. The exception being the HDCA being run by the net neophytes of Netsafe. But they will get their rough edges work off pretty fast.

          • Richard Christie 6.2.1.3.1

            I understand the site’s position and I didn’t read the warning closely before outlining the accusations, for that I apologise.

            I still hold the opinion that some of the recent publishing laws and regulations that are being used to threaten sites such as this are badly considered and draconian in scope. Unfortunately it’s not my job (nor expertise) to come up with better ones and report back to you or anyone else, but it is everybody’s right to raise objections to those laws seen as deficient.

            We have witnessed such deficiencies recently being used in Netsafe’s attempt to stifle political discussion and what I consider fair political opinion (both here and on The Daily Blog). I’m glad we are in agreement there.

            Ever wondered why it is seldom, if ever, regarded as libel to repeat material in face to face conversation? It’s because personal conversation is impossible to police effectively. And so is the internet, once its published it is published.

            Perhaps its time for law makers to stop trying to divert running rivers with a pointy stick, or try to push shit uphill.

            • lprent 6.2.1.3.1.1

              I still hold the opinion that some of the recent publishing laws and regulations that are being used to threaten sites such as this are badly considered and draconian in scope.

              You mean the HDCA? So do I. That is largely because the legislation was left too open-ended for adult forums in that

              1. The right to take anonymous nuisance actions in political and social forums was way too easy.

              2. It didn’t take enough into account that providers are responsible and information need to make decisions on their own sites. So there is little requirement to provide the required information to us. In effect the HDCA added a block into resolving issues on responsible moderated sites.

              3. The use of Netsafe was outright daft. Their primary focus has been and still is children, young adults and possibly the technically illiterate. They appear to have little to no understanding of how the net has developed and operated over the last 30 years.

              However I’m also of the opinion that most of these issues will sort out eventually in the courts. The first court order that I receive will involve considerable and probably some very protracted and painful education of the net to the complainant, netsafe, and the DOJ. Because regardless of the rights or wrongs of the matter – the legal position is going to need to be clarified.

              But there are sites out there that do need this level of protection. Both the arsehole sites that literally lie about whatever so long as it sounds good (think the old Whaleoil before it got boring or their mates at Lauda Finem), and the corporate social sites who need legal cover to do their moderation.

  7. Bill 7

    So let me get this straight.

    On the one hand there is some stuff floating about to the effect that a widely disliked prominent government politician is a sheep shagger. On the other hand there have been major policy releases to be understood, compared and contrasted. And these releases are ongoing.

    Additionally, in previous elections, there were numerous people on this site and elsewhere bemoaning “celebrity” politics and “gotcha” politics and all the rest of that bullshit.

    And yet here we are…

    • Cinny 7.1

      Policy is very important yes, BUT if we can’t trust those delivering the policy, there’s no point.

      Least that’s how I see it, and it really hit home for me during and after Keys reign.

    • Talk policy no one is stopping you are they

    • weka 7.3

      “On the one hand there is some stuff floating about to the effect that a widely disliked prominent government politician is a sheep shagger.”

      That’s not how I would summarise the allegations at all. That implies that someone is trying to defame a politician for the sake of it. There’s no way to know in this case thus far, but the allegations themselves, unlike sheep shagging, are pretty easy for authorities to check out.

      Are you saying that it would be better to not talk about this? (just wasn’t clear what your point was).

      • Bill 7.3.1

        You’d rather it was characterised in comparison to pig fucking – maybe some less bestial yet suitably unsavoury signpost?

        If someone is saying something that’s true, it’s not defamation btw.

        You say there’s no way to know – which is kinda sorta true. But half a brain might reflect on the fact that Farrell sat on shit from when they were aged 10. (Not exactly “pretty easy for authorities to check out” then.) and that the whole screed reads like a late night TV ad – y’know, “but that’s not all…!”

        Anyway. The same half a brain (because it really doesn’t require much brain power) might conclude that Farrel’s probably a member of that diverse legion of people who march forth ‘neath the banner inscribed with the motto “Fucking Loons”.

        Note: that doesn’t preclude some aspects of the allegations being true or true-ish.

        Better to not talk about this? Talk about what? There really isn’t anything to talk about. Media have reported on a “take down notice”. Big whoops.

        Oh yeah, and then I’m (probably not very popularly) pointing to some hypocrisy in the air – running with this kind of shit was widely bemoaned and condemned hereabouts not so far back.

        Anyhoo. I’m off away for the day, and good luck to one and all who are going to be fielding this if they can’t easily determine the lines between defamation or potential defamation and fair comment.

        • marty mars 7.3.1.1

          Couldn’t really follow that chain of consciousness writing. I’m confused – do you want it talked about or don’t you?

          And why are you bringing sheep and now pig shagging into it? Wtf

          Personally this type of attack really seems like a lone wolf personal grievance kind. I hope it is sorted out soon.

          • weka 7.3.1.1.1

            Thanks for that, because I couldn’t understand it either, and given the context I think clear communication is even more important.

        • weka 7.3.1.2

          Personally, I don’t use sexual violence against animal metaphors of any kind. Why would I think pig fucking was an improvement?

          I don’t care how people choose to characterise someone they don’t know. I read the allegations, if they’re true, then good on the people for doing what they are doing. If they’re not true, then I expect they’re get slammed.

          As for hypocrisy, not quite following you there, because you haven’t actually said what you mean, but if you are referring to my position that slagging off Labour for the sake of it is a bad strategy, then you really haven’t understood what I was saying about that. If you are referring obliquely to something about Dirty Politics, then maybe you should just say what you mean because I’m don’t get it.

          But half a brain might reflect on the fact that Farrell sat on shit from when they were aged 10. (Not exactly “pretty easy for authorities to check out” then.)

          Meanwhile those of us with a whole brain can easily imagine circumstances that might prevent a 10 yr old from knowing what to do or acting, likewise how that might play out over their lives. Afaik he claims to have tried to have this looked at in the past. I can’t see too many options that someone in his position has apart from what he has done.

          As far as I can tell you don’t like the dude who made the allegations and you think he’s a loon, and for some reason you think this means something else, and people are hypocrites. Not very cogent.

          • Bill 7.3.1.2.1

            I don’t really care what metaphors you do and don’t use.

            Allegations of sheep shagging refers to a famous, or infamous if you prefer, case in the US where one senator, congressman or presidential candidate (I can’t recall the precise position of the protagonists) made the allegation of a political opponent – the point being, that although it was known to be untrue, the accused would have to publicly deny the fact and damage their reputation by the mere act of defending themselves against the outrageous allegation of being a sheep shagger.

            In other words, it’s a catch all reference to the making of unsubstantiated claims.

            I suggested “pig” since after the David Cameron debacle, it might have seemed more appropriate to use that animal in the reference being we’re talking about unsubstantiated claims and Tory (National) MPs.

            None of the above necessarily involves sexual violence unless you consider all bestiality to be violent by definition, and none of it suggested bestiality was indulged in by any government minister (hence the use of the qualifying phrase “to the effect that…”. And it most definitely wasn’t, as you seem to think, a summary of any allegations made.

            Many people would have understood those references easily enough. They aren’t that obscure and it’s not my fault they were over your head.

            As I said in the original comment, and I’ll bold it for you in previous elections there were numerous people on this site and elsewhere bemoaning “celebrity” politics and “gotcha” politics and all the rest of that bullshit. So nothing whatsoever to do with anything you’ve said, or any position you’ve adopted, around any supposed “slagging off (of) Labour”.

            As for ‘not liking the dude’ who’s made the allegations. I wouldn’t know him from a bar of soap. He might be a really nice guy – I’ve no idea. But I read the stuff he put up and reasonably concluded that he’s a fucking loon. (No back-up, no direct evidence or corroborating evidence or even suggestion of circumstantial evidence.)

            And sure, we can all imagine situations a 10 year old would bottle up. But the situation referred to in the allegations definitely isn’t one of them. And maybe those who are all excited by this nonsense should ask themselves some really basic fucking questions such as – why didn’t he approach a reporter or journalist with his catalogue of supposed abuse and illegality and unlawfulness? (Musta been because facebook is just such a great way to go, or then again, the only way to go if you’re a loon.)

            As I said (and I’m repeating because you appear to be having severe reading comprehension difficulties today), the fact that he’s probably a loon does not mean there are not elements of truth to his allegations.

            • weka 7.3.1.2.1.1

              Lol ok, so all the bestiality, aspersions about him as a person and need to make out I’m stupid aside, you agree that there may be truth to the allegations. Still have no idea why it’s a problem to talk about that.

              • Bill

                Where did I say it was a problem?

                There is the mere minor detail of not being able to discuss or talk about the very things that people think may or may not be true. But I didn’t even mention that before now.

                Go back to my initial comment. I made an observation or two.

            • marty mars 7.3.1.2.1.2

              “I’ve reasonably concluded he’s a fucking loon” – oh big god has proclaimed here ye here ye – someone who knows nothing has made a statement

              for someone who cares not and is interested less you sure waste a lot of bits and bytes on it bill

              • Bill

                From passive aggressive at 11 O’Clock in the morning to deliberate misrepresentation and straight-up personal attack by 5 O’Clock in the evening.

                Quite a day’s journey there marty.

                • oh right you call the dude a fucking loon and I’m doing the straight up personal attack

                  you bring up shagging animals (out of context) and I’m deliberately misrepresenting

                  your first comment was a snide dig at someone or something and I’m the baddy…

                  you know what? whatever…

            • Andre 7.3.1.2.1.3

              For the pedants: that story came from Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72, allegedly it was LBJ in his ’48 Senate campaign, and it was pigs.

              • Bill

                Thanks. Could have cut straight to the Tory angle then, and saved a wander through the baack paddocks of my memory if my powers of recall were a bit better 🙂

  8. Anne 8

    In the circumstances, how does one find out what this is all about?

    • Cinny 8.1

      Sometimes one [deleted]. Hope that helps and was keeping with admins rules and advice.

      [please don’t post signposts to sites that have posted the allegations. – weka]

    • Naturally, one wouldn’t do such a thing oneself and would in no way recommend anyone do it in this case, but in the hypothetical situation that a person wanted to find out the gory details of something, searching some relevant terms (eg the name of the party and ‘allegations’) in Google and looking among the results for the least-reputable-looking sites would do the trick. One might also try Facebook…

      • Anne 8.2.1

        Thanks PM. Got the picture.

        My summation: there will probably be an element of truth to the allegations but I wouldn’t go further than that without corroborative evidence. And that is usually the hardest bit to achieve. People think of themselves first and foremost, and they fear retribution if they come forward and back up the claims… even when they know the claims to be true.

      • Cinny 8.2.2

        Well said PM, sorry about the above Weka.

  9. DoublePlusGood 9

    Well, I guess there needed to be something so National can say “lefties do it too”.

  10. Andre 10

    Not wanting to do a Streisand effect, but since comments are now in moderation: there’s a wee mess at the end of yesterday’s Open Mike that should probably get cleaned up.

  11. outofbed 11

    Just read it, It seems really detailed and some serious allegations there
    I guess it should be pretty easy to check some of the facts in those allegations. dates payments etc.
    It is important that we have confidence in our leaders, and pretty much everybody has baggage, I know I have done a few dishonest and things that i wish I hadn’t. but i would never run for public office. if any of the items are true then she (PB) is totally unsuitable to be a minister.
    I should imagine that in a few days these allegations will be fact checked and either found to be incorrect or she should go. Being the National party she probably won’t though.

  12. McFlock 12

    Dunno what the allegations are, don’t really care at this stage.

    Frankly I’ll be waiting for more evidence than the word of one guy I’ve never heard of. Even if he were correct, that’s not really enough to make a case in court for most crimes.

    So atm I’m all a bit “meh”.

    • weka 12.1

      If someone was on a benefit and doing certain things, all that would have to happen is someone phones the MSD with allegations and that will kick off an investigation.

      If the claims are correct any MP should be held accountable irrespective of whether it goes to court or not. I don’t think court is the only way to establish truth or fact here.

      • McFlock 12.1.1

        As far as I know, there is zero corroboration at this stage. If we compare that to the Barclay affair, even a year ago there was the high staff turnover, including several long term staff members, and evasion rather than refutation from the tories.

        Now, it could just be that they’re trying a different tack in crisis management, but it’s still a bit weird that specific allegations took this long to come out, if they were true. This guy is the only person familiar with the situation? Doubtful. So I’d also expect a flood of corroborration, like with Cosby.

        It’d be nice to see the petulant bean disappear from politics, but I ain’t holding my breath on this one.

        • lprent 12.1.1.1

          I agree with all of your points. But then there are things like Ranchiger allegations about hacking this site and other matters which we treated a high degree of caution. Turned out that Slater and some unnamed backer really were trying to criminally procure a hack.

        • weka 12.1.1.2

          Another family member who was also there at the time is supporting his allegations I think. And I think he’s tried to get this looked at in the past.

          “So I’d also expect a flood of corroborration, like with Cosby.”

          I would expect that if this set of allegations gets some official recognition then others will be more willing to step up. But at this stage, what could people do other than say the allegations are true? There’s no formal process yet and people are right to be concerned about what Bennett might do given she not only outed private information on two WINZ clients but then basically told the Privacy Commissioner to get fucked after being called on it.

          I don’t think this is really comparable with the Barclay case. For one it’s historical not recent. And Dickson had both experience and IMO solid support in how to approach this. There’s a class issue there for a start.

          Here’s my question then, if the allegations are true, what could someone in his position do about it?

          • lprent 12.1.1.2.1

            As far as the allegations go, it is highly unlikely that any charges would be laid. They are way way too old.

            In terms of politics this fits exactly into the meme of Bennett, Key and others getting the lift up, and then removing all the ladders behind them. Like the housing in Auckland, it doesn’t exactly fit the aspirational message of hope that National likes to portray (and never deliver for most)

            • weka 12.1.1.2.1.1

              Probably is too old for charges, but if she was still a beneficiary then I would expect MSD would investigate despite the time lapse. This will be part of why so many people are angry about it, beneficiaries held to a higher account than a Minister.

          • McFlock 12.1.1.2.2

            He’s probably not too far off the mark in what he’s doing, if it’s true. My point is that at the moment we don’t know if the spot of green in the potting mix is a flower, a weed, or just a bit of mould or green plastic from somewhere.

            I tend to agree with the general gist of what Bill said – there’s a lot of effort being invested in something that at this stage could easily be someone’s feverish imagination.

            • weka 12.1.1.2.2.1

              True, we don’t know. We can only go on what we’ve seen so far. The thing that inclines me to take notice is the alleged facts. This isn’t just random, vague allegations (which I’ve heard made of Bennett before). This is specific details that are checkable.

              Not sure much effort has been invested. A few replicated media reports and a cut and paste post on TS (haven’t looked at TDB yet), plus some chatter on FB and Twitter.

          • Psycho Milt 12.1.1.2.3

            …if the allegations are true, what could someone in his position do about it?

            I reckon his only shot is if other people who were there at the time back him up – especially if any of them have photos that show all parties knew each other. There’s likely no other evidence to draw on.

            It will be interesting to see what happens if he doesn’t cease and desist. If he’s lying, having her lawyers bankrupt and publicly humiliate him via a defamation case would be a fairly quick and easy response for Bennett. If he’s telling the truth, the discovery process inherent in a defamation trial would be highly risky for Bennett, and a secret out-of-court settlement would be the way to go. Dead giveaway for that one would be if he doesn’t cease and desist, but then suddenly stops talking about it and won’t say why.

            • weka 12.1.1.2.3.1

              “There’s likely no other evidence to draw on.”

              Not sure if you saw the original letter, but some of the allegations are pretty easily checked via records. The government could check. Even a journalist could do some of it.

              The other stuff, yep, would need other people who were there to back it up or not.

              “Dead giveaway for that one would be if he doesn’t cease and desist, but then suddenly stops talking about it and won’t say why.”

              Having followed some of his FB posts, I’m guessing he won’t be backing off. Whether he takes any money offered or not is another matter.

      • Sacha 12.1.2

        Wouldn’t there be some statue of limitations constraint on an MSD investigation?

        • weka 12.1.2.1

          Even if there is, I would expect that a Minister would still be held to account for the actions. Except of course this is National.

          • gsays 12.1.2.1.1

            As for expecting someone being held to account, I would call that optimism of the highest order.
            Looking back recently, Nick Smith and any of his utterances, english and the debarclay, collins and kauri/water, key ponytail, blind trust, tax havens etc etc
            And yet they continue to walk on water.

            • weka 12.1.2.1.1.1

              True, but we still spoke out on all those things. A little water wears away a rock. Time will come when NZ will have to deal with its now corrupt political class.

        • Draco T Bastard 12.1.2.2

          I don’t believe so. Or perhaps I should say that It’s Complicated™:

          There is no general statute of limitation for criminal proceedings. However, s 25(b) of NZBORA protects the rights of defendants to be tried without undue delay. A defendant may allege that right has been breached if there is significant delay by prosecuting authorities in bringing the case to trial. The Court can also strike out criminal proceedings for delay as part of its inherent power to prevent abuse of its processes, whether the delay is caused by the prosecution or because there has been a long time between when the offence occurred and when it was reported. The delay must cause actual prejudice to the accused.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      Even if he were correct, that’s not really enough to make a case in court for most crimes.

      But it is enough as a defence against defamation.

      And if he wins that then there’s prima facie evidence of an actual crime happening which should start the police and MSD investigation.

      • weka 12.2.1

        Yes, and that’s often the only course of action of people with no institutional power. Make the allegation and force the person to go to court over it.

        • OncewasTim 12.2.1.1

          I think that’s the plan @weka.
          Anne would understand this (in relation to employment law).
          But one has to be confident in the loyalty and willingness of others to emerge.
          COSBY-like

        • Anne 12.2.1.2

          Make the allegation and force the person to go to court over it.

          Easier said than done though weka. Those with “institutional power” have both the financial and political support (and I use the term political in it’s broadest sense) while the complainant more often than not has nothing. In such circumstances the chances of justice being done is very slim. It does happen from time to time but usually only when an influential person with a conscience takes up the cudgels on the victim’s behalf. A good example was Louise Nicholas and all hail to her bravery. But justice was not initiated until a well known journalist came to her aid.

          • Anne 12.2.1.2.1

            Please ignore Edit. Name corrected.

          • weka 12.2.1.2.2

            I think we are talking about different things Anne. Let me rephrase. People with no institutional power, rather than trying to get a criminal conviction where that would be very hard, can instead go public with allegations. That way the person who the allegations are made against has to take it to civil court and try and prove that they’ve been defamed. Or not, and let the allegations stand in public.

            It’s a strategy sometimes used by women who’ve been raped who have no other recourse to justice because of how the system is stacked. I know it bothers some people, but that’s the thing about how we share power so unevenly in society.

            It’s a risky strategy and brave IMO, and potentially powerful. If that’s what he’s doing (assuming there that the allegations are correct), then I don’t have too much problem with how he is doing it because I don’t see too many other options (nor suggestions of what else he could do). As Cinny points out below, he’s gone public, he’s been to the media, he’s talked to a lawyer. What else could he have done?

            • Anne 12.2.1.2.2.1

              I think we’re on the same track weka but we came at it from different perspectives.

              It’s a strategy sometimes used by women who’ve been raped who have no other recourse to justice because of how the system is stacked. I know it bothers some people, but that’s the thing about how we share power so unevenly in society.

              So true, and it doesn’t just apply to criminal acts of a sexual nature but also applies to bullying and intimidation of a criminal nature. It is much easier to do it to a woman because they are less likely to be believed by the male dominated managerial species both in the public and private sectors.

              In this case, the alleged protagonist is a woman but she’s one hell of a powerful woman so the norms do not apply.

        • Anne 12.2.1.3

          Edit:
          It should be Louise Nicholas (not Nicholls). Perhaps moderator could correct because I can’t edit. 🙂

        • Richard Christie 12.2.1.4

          Exactly.

  13. Adrian Thornton 13

    I guess the real story is that despite National MP’s being so well known for just lying without the slightest hesitation, of being so full of unbelievable contradictions, that this story immediately has legs…and if it is proved to be true, no one would be all that surprised.
    And yet National remain at close to 50% in the polls, isn’t that a depressing indictment on the average kiwis internal moral compass.

    • Wensleydale 13.1

      The cash must flow. The property values must remain buoyant. The labour must remain cheap and exploitable. The rivers must continue to serve as convenient dumping grounds for dairy effluent.

      That is all. Thank you, and good night.

    • weka 13.2

      Missing million. We can’t claim that most Kiwis support National.

    • adam 13.3

      This is why I think they will win. People are greedy, and national feed that greed. The average person might not get any of that wealth, but like lotto, they dream of it. They preform some rather fancy footwork in their brains to justify their greed.

      It does not help most of the charismatic churches in this country push the wealth doctrine. A evil piece of theology skulduggery. So a point where people might have ethics, it is corrupted at the core.

  14. ropata 14

    By all means we need to hold the powerful to account and pursue justice.
    But let’s not indulge in Slateresque dirty politics & unsubstantiated wild gossip.

    • weka 14.1

      It’s a first person account with at least one person backing it up, and made at considerable risk. I don’t know if it’s true, but at this stage I wouldn’t compare it to Slater’s approach at all.

      I’m curious how you think it could be dealt with apart from using social media.

    • Bill 14.2

      Indeed.

  15. Can we accept, that what has been said, and by now read by maybe 10,000 people, that if a slur on our dear minister. She should sue the hell out of this guy, I guess we have to wait to see Paula taking him down (not)
    She could say it is all BS and she has a country to keep fucking, hence no time to waste
    Move on nothing to see here LA LA happy happy joy joy, oh look panda
    Not posting?
    Try again
    Still not going through
    Sure I’m sticking to the rules

    • weka 15.1

      All comments under this post are now being held for approval rather than going straight through. You’re not in moderation now 🙂

  16. Sorry for time wasting, moderation … worked it out now
    Apologies again

  17. dukeofurl 17

    Its unusual in that quite specific places are named.
    We do know that Paula Bennett did get state assistance to buy a house in Taupo.
    These are not allegations as they are widely known.

    ‘“When she was only 19, Paula Bennett was on the Domestic Purposes Benefit but was able to buy her own house in Taupo for $56,000, courtesy of a Housing Corporation loan. Bennett said she’d worked part-time but that she “pretty much fell apart because I was exhausted. I went back on the DPB”. – Hone Harawira
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1202/S00321/bennetts-a-bloody-hypocrite.htm

    Much has been made That ‘benny’ Bennett made use of assistance that is no longer available to others, even some she too away while SW minister.

    I wont be repeating the latest allegations but the Herald covered more of her earlier life interview last year

    “Nothing about her early life marked her out for excellence. Her father Bob ran the village store by the lake in Kinloch and her mother Lee was a librarian. She was a stroppy teen who resented the way girls were treated compared to boys.

    When she was given a sewing machine for her 16th birthday – her two brothers got shotguns – she traded the machine for a motorcycle. She left home the same year and went on the domestic purposes benefit.

    Aged 17, she had her first child, Ana, who was later a young mum on welfare with a partner in jail. Two years later, Bennett bought her first home in Taupo for $56,000 with the help of a Housing Corporation grant and had to go back to work to cover the mortgage. She worked through the night as a waitress at a truck stop[Stag], in a hair salon, booking tours on Lake Taupo, and as a cleaner.

    She pinpoints moments in her early 20s that caused her to turn her life around. At 23 she met Alan Philps, who would become her husband 20 years later in a very private wedding ceremony on Piha Beach -…http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11737932

    Im trying to be tricky, but there are matches with places, whether they are all jumbled up in time, we dont know.

    She was 17 in 1986 and was 23 in 1992, when wikipedia has her moving to Auckland where in 1994 she began study at Massey-Albany.

    • When she was only 19, Paula Bennett was on the Domestic Purposes Benefit but was able to buy her own house in Taupo for $56,000, courtesy of a Housing Corporation loan.

      So, 1988. In 1987 we bought our first house for $52,000, courtesy of a Housing Corporation loan. We still had to front up 12% ourselves, around $6200 (to put it in context, about 5 months’ net pay for me at the time). 12% of 56,000 is around $6700. I did idly wonder when I first heard this story how she managed to scrape together upwards of 6 grand for the deposit while on the DPB. Maybe her parents helped out. Could be the Housing Corp had a lower deposit requirement for beneficiaries too, I guess.

      • weka 17.1.1

        Not sure what time period this was (similar I think) but I seem to remember you could cash in child benefit and get a mortgage with only $5,000. And yes, people did manage to borrow that amount too.

  18. It does strike me as wildly improbable that someone whose background included all the stuff mentioned in these allegations, with a lot of other people present or knowing about it, would pursue a career in politics based on clamping down on the people who do that kind of thing. How could they imagine it wouldn’t be discovered and splashed all over the media at some point, at which point their career would be toast? That would be weapons-grade stupidity and hubris. Admittedly, we’re talking Tories here and they do have a remarkable capacity for both the above, but it still feels like wishful thinking to imagine the allegations might be true.

    • Andre 18.1

      Well, um, yes, you’d think so. But it’s not just a generic Nat, it’s Paula Bennett. So that’s several steps back up the probability ladder.

    • weka 18.2

      It’s also possible the facts are true but not the allegations, and that the facts aren’t pointing to illegality e.g. they’ve been misinterpreted. But again, not too hard to fact check, so it seems reasonable to want that to happen.

      If he’s outright making this shit up, what would be the point? If it comes down to Occam’s Razor, I’d probably go with Tory morals than him being willing to bring a shit load of trouble down on himself for no reason (or him being stupid enough to think the lies would hold up), although honestly at this point it seems fairly evenly spread.

      • McFlock 18.2.1

        heh

        I guess I’m more of a cynic – sure, I wouldn’t put some pretty bad crimes past any given tory, but similarly I think we’ve all seen online that some people can get a little bit monomaniacal and then end up spouting all sorts of crazy shit.

        After that, real-world consequences are just a matter of statisitical chance as to exactly how unhinged the guy might be (usually guys).

        So that’s why I’m still in “toss a coin” territory.

    • dukeofurl 18.3

      You have to consider , she did work in recruitment for some time. She would have come across plenty of people who would have ‘tried on weapons grade’ whitewashing their past and making up stuff that is believed – until its isnt.

      Can you or I remember most of the stuff in your early 20s, plus cellphones with cameras werent around then to ‘document’ people and places

      • ianmac 18.3.1

        I can remember most of the stuff that I was doing in my later teens and 20s, sadly, much better than what I am doing these days. Damnit!

  19. Cinny 19

    Apparently the person has contacted media, engaged lawyers and appears to have some other support. Am guessing if something comes of it media will do their job and let us all know as much as they are able.

  20. rod 20

    I think it’s another diversion cooked up by the Nats to take the heat off Double Dipton.

    • sam green 20.1

      Hugely interesting is the media blackout of this topic on Kiwiblog. Even whaleoil is commenting. Farrar must have instructions from his masters not to post any headline and the toadies are sure keeping away from topic. It will be a very interesting few days – when is Bennett back in town?

  21. rod 21

    I think it’s just another diversion cooked up by the Nats to take the heat off Double Dipton and his mate Toddy.

  22. BM 22

    I reckon this could really blow back on Labour.

    The punters will think the left was behind this like they thought Labour was behind the Kim Dotcom debacle of 2014.

    The best thing that could happen for the left is if it withers and dies.

    • weka 22.1

      Crosby Textor aren’t producing much for the money if that’s the best memo they’ve got. They’ve been off their game lately.

    • Xanthe 22.2

      Labours failure to stand up for justice re Dotcom cost them the last election IMHO

    • sam green 22.3

      Labour didn’t make this up – you must be thinking of Jason Ede and his team – they used to work for National.

    • Richard Christie 22.4

      I reckon this could really blow back on Labour. – BM

      What the hell has it got to do with Labour?

    • mary_a 22.5

      @ BM … can you explain please what the heck this issue has to do with Labour?

  23. james 23

    Having read it – the guy seems an absolute loon.

  24. NZJester 24

    If allegations of criminal wrongdoing have been made and the alleged crimes have not exceeded any statute of limitations then a police investigation should be carried out if evidence has been given.
    If the alleged crimes are over the statue of limitation then an independent inquiry should be made to inform the public of the truth to these allegations so people can know the charter of who they are voting for.
    I find her to have a very dubious charter anyway just from her past actions such as her time as Minister of Social Welfare where she canceled one of the very schemes that helped her out when she was an unemployed solo mother.
    But first and foremost the police should be looking into the Barclay case as well.

  25. taiping 25

    Even If any of this PB stuff is no more than allegations, remember, there is no public service corruption in NZ cause there is no one independent to report it to.

    It is a legal fact that no one is corrupt till its proven and we good ole Kiwis investigate ourselves!!!

    Go on, try it, report real corruption happening at your workplace to your work superior etc, see where it gets you… i dare you to suffer

  26. Drowsy M. Kram 26

    The letter I read was about 900 words. If the guy had come across as an absolute loon I probably wouldn’t have made it to the end.

    Hope it’s not a wind up.

  27. sam green 27

    Hugely interesting is the media blackout of this topic on Kiwiblog. Even whaleoil is commenting. Farrar must have instructions from his masters not to post any headline and the toadies are sure keeping away from topic. It will be a very interesting few days – when is Bennett back in town?

  28. silvertuatara 28

    I had to laugh when I saw this comment in the Herald http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11885404;

    “Facebook has removed both the letter and the video however the man has posted a series of follow-up videos in response that remain online, while the letter has since been shared on other sites.”

    Doesn’t another well known New Zealand citizen whom has been in the media recently hold a position on the board of Facebook. According to wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Thiel has their occupations listed as

    Occupation
    President of Clarium Capital
    Chairman of Palantir (contracted to the GCSB, SIS,…and it would
    not surprise me if the police, MSD,
    Customs ACC will follow over time)
    Board member of Facebook
    Partner in Founders Fund
    Chairman of Valar Ventures
    Chair of Mithril Capital
    Partner in Y Combinator

  29. KJT 29

    Somebody wealthy is defamed (Maybe) and they take it to court.

    Someone has their privacy breached by the person above, but cannot afford to take it to court.

    Just saying.

    “The law treats both the rich and the poor equally. Neither are allowed to live under a bridge”.

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