Brian Edwards Media

Darren Hughes Resigns

The news is now out that Phil Goff has accepted Darren Hughes’ resignation. That is either an act of extreme self-sacrifice on Hughes’ part or an indication that the findings of the police investigation, even if they fall short of  justifying a prosecution, may make his position untenable. In either case, this is a personal  tragedy for Hughes, a political tragedy for the Labour Party and, in my submission, a matter of deep regret for anyone who has watched this talented and hugely personable MP’s career.

74 Comments:

  1. poor chap. I completely agree with your sentiments.

    side note: i’m yet to hear anyone congratulate him on saving the taxpayer some cash by boarding with King, instead people seem to think it’s odd. why?

  2. Like Phil Goff, Darren was clearly just going to stay around in a political sinecure on the Labour list until his turn came to be leader. Like Goff, he would have found that his years in politics had shielded him from the ‘real’ world and he would be unable to connect with the electorate. Better for him to get out now and get a life.

  3. Very sad. What a shame, he is very talented.

    As you say

  4. Yep, a personal tragedy for Hughes – and just possibly for King’s career as well ? – and a political tragedy for Labour.

    And not only because they’ve lost a talented MP…
    The affair instantly re-ignites the whole ‘Labour’s run by a secret cabal of gays/lesbians’ nonsense.

    Fodder for National’s religious-nutter proxies like the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards / Family First / Ian Wishart…

  5. 5

    It is also a real tragedy for the young man who made the complaint, he was keen be involved with politics, a labour supporter then this (what ever this is) happens
    I doubt that he has much of a future with Labour now, I would like to think someone like you Brian will mentor him through the next few years but doubt that will happen

    BE:There might be some sense in this if you had the slightest idea of what happened on March 2. You haven’t and yet you’re quite happy to spout this sort of rot. Your second paragraph is just preposterous nonsense. Why on earth would I be mentoring him through the next few years?

  6. …come on markus – stop shifting the blame here, and trying to turn Hughes into some latter day Colin Moyle-like martyr (and Moyle, by the way, was IMHO also inept, as was his leader Rowling, and Rob Muldoon was the only one who’s reputation was unfairly tarnished in the long-run).

    I wouldn’t wish what happened to Hughes on anyone, and while there is some connection between private life, and the ability to fulfill a public role, Kiwis are pretty understanding. We are not, in the main, moralists in the North American mold. What we don’t like, though, is dishonesty.

    In that regards, while Hughes has my sympathy, and I understand why he said it, I think his words, “Although people are commonly thought to be innocent until proven guilty, it has become clear to me that this doesn’t apply in the political arena” is sanctimonious clap-trap. Why are politicians any more special? If he did nothing wrong, then stand and fight it. Do doctors or lawyers, or plumbers give up their day job if they are the subject of a police investigations?! Usually not.

    If Hughes is vindicated, I think most Kiwis would admire his guts. They certainly never held it against Moyle, even though the subsequent inquiry didn’t exonerate him.

    Instead, with Hughes’ words, and Goff’s blaming of the Beehive for the leak, there is a back-handed allegation that we the electorate, and our fussy morals and hypocrisy, are to blame. More blame shifting away from the lack political management, that was probably in evidence some three weeks ago.

  7. Mind you, if the speculation on a Labour leadership coup turns out to be correct, King will be gone anyway.

  8. An admirable action-Pity Bill English (The homestead debacle)didnt take a leaf out of Darrens Book.He may be found to be too good to roll in the mire that is politics.

  9. Nope, not “shifting the blame”, Kimbo. Nor “trying to turn Hughes into some latter day Colin Moyle-like martyr” (or even a Latter Day Saint for that matter). Just speculating on possible consequences for Labour.

    “Kiwis are pretty understanding. We are not, in the main, moralists in the North American mold.”

    Not sure it’s possible to generalise. Over recent years, I’ve undertaken a pretty thorough analysis of post-1960s New Zealand Opinion Polls on various social, foreign policy and moral issues. I’d estimate opposition to homosexuality remains around the 35-45% mark. About the same as 1985/86. (In the late 1990s opposition rose as high as 50%). Still a strong vein of conservatism in NZ, often overlooked by those of us of a more liberal/progressive disposition.

  10. Facts?
    Anybody got facts?

  11. Such a shame, a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions. Our Laughing-boy, unbelievably bright; multi-talented; debating skills, so sharp, that it bedazzled us; very personable guy, full of bonhomie and side-splitting wit; blessed with an intellectual prowess, so dazzling, that those in academia soaked up his aura and were humbled.

    Had so much going for him: a working life entrenched in taxpayer-funded sinecure. But the potential and glory, has been burnt on the altar. All for what? A “bit o’ how’s your father” with an impressionable young man? And worse, still, who might have had a bit too much to drink?

    You want the truth? There was no talent. Either lost or wasted. Because there was none in the first place. Ginga came up, short.

    But he provides an interesting case study in contrast: between Key’s dealing to Worth and Goff’s mollycoddling of Hughes. Key, did not wait for the outcome of the police enquiry, before making it publicly known that he wanted shot of Worth. He was confident as to the reliability of the information, he had, and made the call: “Richard, you’re out!”.

    Compare, Key’s no-trial summary execution of Worth to the airy-fairyness of Phil Goff’s: “Well, you know, I don’t want to pre-empt the police enquiry. Darren wants to spend time, clearing his name; feels, he can’t do his job while this… blah-blah-blah”.
    “Oh, do I think it was politically motivated? The information was leaked from the Beehive”.
    And Goff, conveniently overlooks, that it was Pete Hodgson who dined out, royally, on Pansy Wong.

    But there is a bright light on an otherwise bleak horizon, for Phil. He welcomes the return of the prodigal daughter: The ineffable workaholic, Judith Tizard. As if he needs a defining obituary.

    BE: “You want the truth? There was no talent. Either lost or wasted. Because there was none in the first place. Ginga came up, short.”
    I very much doubt you would find anyone on either side of the house who would agree with that, Merv. It’s simply not true.

  12. 12

    Sorry Merv, what was that in English? I don’t speak fluent gibberish.

  13. I totally agree with you that it’s very sad to see the end of Darren Hughes in this manner, Brian. I heard him in a debate once and he was very able, vivacious and just plain likeable.
    I wonder if his resignation was more a matter of a belated recognition on his own part that getting himself into such a situation was not very good judgment, quite regardless of whether anything illegal happened.

    BE: Possibly. I think we can take at face value his claim that he could not afford to go on damaging the Labour Party in election year. The only thing I’d say is that if the police had got on with it – they’ve already had more than 3 weeks – there might have been a decision not to prosecute and the whole thing would have quickly died. Darren is different from some others who have shown ‘bad judgement’ is that he is respected and liked by both sides of the House. That’s fairly rare.

  14. @Peter M – 1801

    Key realised some time ago that, to most punters, Parliament is a rabble (judged entirely by sound and vision bites of Question Time). Not having a grounding in politics and NZ history, Key has come along as an opportunist and by abusing long established processes with all its checks and balances (presiding over so much populist legislation being passed under urgency) has managed to convince many that perhaps the whole system is a waste of time. Sadly the next step, judging by the tone in your comments, is not far from the abandonment of our Westminster Parliamentary system and an elected representative assembly to some form of appointment of privileged executive.

    The people of New Zealand rightly demand high calibre representation and every three years have the opportunity to express their leanings through the ballot box. Some have gone further and got involved in political movements.

    Your language of “sinecure” indicates a lack of understanding and valuing of our democratic system.

    And incidentally while you are on the subject of being in or out of touch with the electorate – how cynical is it of John Key to be attending a $7000 per head banquet in the Hawkes Bay when this week has announced that the budget will be in essence a 6% cut.

  15. @Kimbo 1949
    “…Do doctors or lawyers, or plumbers give up their day job if they are the subject of a police investigations?! Usually not…”

    Get real. They don’t have a cabal of journalists waiting in the gallery 24/7 salivating at the sniff of a story.

  16. “I very much doubt you would find anyone on either side of the house who would agree with that, Merv. It’s simply not true”.

    Brian, I’d compare him to David Lange’s, “I can smell uranium on your breath”. Drew much acclaim, the high point of his career. But it was all downhill from that point on; he couldn’t manage Prebble and Douglas. Pretty much a flash in the pan.

    “Political smarts” is about knowing. It’s about self-awareness and how tuned your instincts are, in ensuring your long-term political longevity. It’s not about believing your the rhetoric and being consumed by your own sense of self-regard; brought upon by peer recognition and acclamation as to your so-called intellect; it’s not about a few clever quips — and retorts — in the debating chamber; it’s not about being amusing and being a jolly fellow with your parliamentary colleagues on both sides of the House.

    How smart was Darren Hughes? Not too smart, I’m saying. Just another hyped-up feckless freckled boy, who miscalculated his sense of immutability, brought about by his being an MP.

    The guy was immediately damned, when he couldn’t/wouldn’t disavow allegations of impropriety. The police charges are peripheral to the wider issues of, “conduct becoming of an MP”. He had to come out and say, “I’m flabbergasted! Nothing untoward occurred a >2am, in my residence. Nothing! He just upped-and-out. God knows why”.

  17. @ logie97

    “Get real. They (doctors or lawyers, or plumbers) don’t have a cabal of journalists waiting in the gallery 24/7 salivating at the sniff of a story”.

    Actually, in some cases they do. But if you want a more apt comparison, how about professional sports people? They most certainly have to perform at times, in spite of scandal and media pressure – and usually they have nowhere near the natural aptitude or media training that politicians are meant to possess as a matter of professional necessity.

    also, @ markus

    “Over recent years, I’ve undertaken a pretty thorough analysis of post-1960s New Zealand Opinion Polls…I’d estimate opposition to homosexuality remains around the 35-45% mark”.

    I’m surprised to hear that. I know there is resentment at what is perceived as the political and social-engineering machinations of the rainbow coalition – in the same way the conservative religious right attracts your ire. Not sure that qualifies as anti-gay. Also Chris Carter, for example, was always a guy who was going to polarise people, irrespective of his sexuality.

    Not wishing to throw doubt on your research findings, nor your integrity, but I’ll suspend judgment for the moment, pending clarification of what you mean by “opposition to homosexuality”

  18. 18

    At least, Merv, I use my name and don’t hide behind a nom-de-guerre to take potshots at people.

    Speaking hypothetically and in general(because really, we know nothing about this particular case), the sad thing about the whole business is that “drunk adult makes ill-judged pass at another drunk adult” isn’t much of a story, if that is indeed what happened – which isn’t to justify such things, but it is at least human.

    What irks me is the way the media is already
    trying to inject some sort of tabloid sleeze or even criminality into it. Do we really hold politicians to higher moral standards than ordinary people? And if there wasn’t a homosexual element to the story, does that make it somehow worse in the public mind (a sad indictment on NZ if it does). That is not to say the other party hasn’t been offended against, but an eighteen year old man is hardly, even intoxicated, a defenceless child.

    The police are investigating and we must hope that the law and justice will take their course – though I note NZ is one of the few countries that allows “homosexual panic” as a defence, which implies a certain amount of institutional homophobia exists in the Justice system.

    One again wonders if this business would have been so apparently permanently politically damaging had it been a heterosexual scenario?
    It is very sad if a talented young politician has had their career ruined over what may yet prove a relatively minor misunderstanding that has been handled badly. Again, hypothetical.

    Out of curiosity, Brian, as a media consultant, what do you think would have been the most appropriate thing for a hypothetical politician in that situation to do post fact?

    BE: Our advice is the same to all our clients: Be straightforward, tell the truth, admit your mistakes. I should perhaps add – and do it quickly.

  19. Thought you dealt with Merv’s childish and petulant bout with more patience, humour, and class than I would have meted out, APW.

    However…

    “One again wonders if this business would have been so apparently permanently politically damaging had it been a heterosexual scenario?”

    Answer: Yep. One name for you: Richard Worth.

  20. 20

    Touché Kimbo – and of course I meant to say “make it somehow better”. And this will be the second time Phil Goff has been publically accused of fumbling this sort of thing, Worth being the first, which is not an especially good look. I am not entirely sure, however, that the cases are analagous – Worth’s crime was one of sustained and outrageously over-the-top harrassment. Whereas with Hughes we really don’t as yet even know if anything happened at all.
    I see the media has latched onto this “naked man” thing, and yet aside from the Jonathan Marshall report, I’ve heard no corroborating evidence.

  21. @Andrew Paul Wood “What irks me is the way the media is already trying to inject some sort of tabloid sleeze or even criminality into it.”

    You can’t really accuse the media of stretching to introduce some sort of, “even” (I can hear the outrage in your keystrokes), criminality. The fact that the police are investigating introduces the possibility of criminality. Nothing to do with the media.

  22. bill, they are not the pro-gaddafi libyan police. they are the nz police, who investigate a wide range of complaints, from the hiding of your neighbour’s rubbish bin to killing off your family. ‘investigation’ is a big word and sounds quite official but try not to your hopes up too high about it in case they’re dashed. mind you, you’ve got the media on your side – so that’s a biggie.

  23. Sorry to disappoint you bje, but actually I am sympathetic to Darren Hughes, and I hope he is vindicated, see for example my earlier post. I do my best to weigh every issue on its merits and I distain political tribalism.

  24. What this whole episode illustrates is the weakness and incompetence of the politicians and there leaders. Was there a national or international crisis? Was it an incident out of control or not properly investigated? It looks like that the media is more in control over politicians and politics than the politicians themselves. This country is in a serious economic crisis, with serious social problems. It is a disgrace for the media, not only the tabloid, to blow this incident out of proportions and not concentrate on the real issues.

  25. @Andrew Paul Wood
    “but an eighteen year old man is hardly, even intoxicated, a defenceless child.”

    One of my sons is an almost-18-yr-old first yr university student, fresh out of school. 18-yr-olds have no life experience – they are not the same as an adult closer to Darren Hughes’ age. If it was my son distressed enough to see the police, I’d be out for blood.

  26. bea-you are being ageist. i know some 8 year olds that are far more reasonsible and clear headed than some 40 year olds. if you defend people merely,only,and exclusively on their age, you are ultimately treating them distain.
    The man did not seek out the police as i understand. quite the opposite. didn’t he mistakenly prang into the police with his car. i’d be distressed about that too.
    and lynch mobs are so 19th century.

  27. Andrew Paul Wood states ” we know nothing about the case ” but then hypothesises that it’s just a case of ” drunk adult makes a pass at another drunk adult ”
    He is then irked by media hypothesising that it may be a worse senario. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander .

  28. 28

    Lloyd, that’s simply looking at the evidence as actually presented without getting hysterical, and assuming the man innocent until proven guilty as I hope the NZ Justice system will.

    Bea, isn’t it time you cut the apron strings then? I think you’d probably be surprised, if not shocked, what your 18-year-old gets up to without your knowledge.

  29. Merv said “Brian, I’d compare him to David Lange’s, “I can smell uranium on your breath”. Drew much acclaim, the high point of his career. But it was all downhill from that point on; he couldn’t manage Prebble and Douglas. Pretty much a flash in the pan.”

    I think calling someone who was prime minister for 5 years a flash in the pan is silly.

    Also wanted to say that an 18 year old vs a 32 year old, and a experienced politician vs a youth politician – are not meeting on equal footing.

    But what concerns me is that I want Labour to win the next election, and I am worried that this issue and its flow on effects is going to stuff up the chances of that happening.

  30. Paul , what ” presented evidence” are you focusing on ?
    Did the youth make a complaint of a verbal “pass” being made towards him , causing the police to make a raid on Annette King’s home ?
    What about pressuming honesty on the youths part till he’s proven guilty of lying…. as you are hoping he will.

  31. bill – i’ve not yet ever voted labour, if that’s what you infer.

  32. 32

    Lloyd, if you read the post, I make it quite clear that I am speaking hypothetically, and I rather think if there were anything more serious to it the gossip would have been right around the country right now – two degrees and all that. Your use of the word “raid” is deliberately provocative and inaccurate. Annette King’s home was not “raided” by the police, the police VISITED, or are you simply dissapointed they don’t appear to have found a dungeon full of whips and chains in the basement?

  33. @ Kimbo

    Being neither gay nor active in the Labour Party, I can’t really speak for the “Rainbow Coalition”. But I think the whole “Labour run by a gay/lesbian cabal” thing is a little more extreme and nowhere near as ideologically innocent as you’re implying.

    Regarding opinion polls on the matter:

    I should concede here that my focus has been largely on the polls of the 70s and 80s, my knowledge of post-1990 data is a little more sporadic. I’ve been able to track down 3 polls on homosexual law reform from the early/mid 70s and a cluster of 5 polls during the crucial 1985/86 period. I’ve seen details of just 3 polls on the subject for the post-1986 period: the 1989 and late 90s polls (both on the legal question)suggested the New Zealand public was pretty evenly divided. The UMR 2008 poll (on the moral question – essentially, were people OK with homosexuality) found 60% were.

  34. Andrew , I have no idea what the ” seized evidence ” includes :-)
    I hate to say it, but if the scenario you are blindly wishing for was true, then Phil Goff would be standing behind his colleague with “Full Confidence” Knowing he would be fully vindicated. In election year this would display great leadership and loyalty on his part.
    But unfortunately he knows far more about the case than you do , which is why the only sound we hear is that of a toilet flushing.

  35. bje – I wasn’t implying (not inferring :-) anything about you. You jumped to the wrong conclusion about where I stood on this issue, and I was scolding you for that. It is more usual for me to disagree with our hosts on this blog, I thought that might be why you jumped to the wrong conclusion. Very presumptious of me, I apologise.

  36. BE “The only thing I’d say is that if the police had got on with it…”

    Well, I guess there must be more important things for the police to do than looking after Christchurch? Or investigating Feilding homicides? Or …
    Maybe the police have worked out what is important to investigate and pour resources into and what isn’t. I don’t get blaming the police for Darren Hughes problems.

    BE: Thanks for pulling me up on this egregious error, John. I made the mistake of failing to understand that so much of the police force’s time is currently being spent on Christchurch and the Fielding homicide, that they can’t afford to investigate and ‘pour resources’ into a complaint by an 18-year-old against a Member of Parliament for some alleged sexual impropriety. And if, in a couple of months time, they decide that there is no case to answer, Hughes can always have another go at getting back into Parliament, can’t he? Sorry too for having ‘blamed the police for Darren Hughes’ problems’. Hadn’t realised I’d done that.

  37. bill forster-thank you for your apology but don’t feel the need. i don’t feel i jumped to any conclusion- i just responded to your post. and please don’t keep presuming. i may not have voted labour yet, but who knows, come election day!

  38. @ markus

    Thanks. No, don’t dispute there are some extreme elements in the anti-gay lobby. Mind you, I get the impression the good Labour voting folk who probably represnt the majority of participants on this blog site occasionally buy into the ‘big international corporation/business cabal’ plot theories too. My impression is that a lot of folks in the middle are just fatigued by the politics of the rainbow coalition at one end of the spectrum, and the fundamentalists at the other.

    I remember 1985-86 very well. Was 18, and remember being abused, and having my heterosexuality questioned by some mates when I refused to sign the anti-decriminalisation petition that was circulating at the time. Ironically, I became a conservative Christian a few months later, although it didn’t change my views on the essential desirability/necessity of Fran Wilde’s bill.

    Anecdotally, I guess that means I straddled both sides of the fence. I now engage in a sports environment with young people (rugby, actually – the great bastion of the macho establishment), and I see not a shred of the homophobia of our generation.

  39. bje – Sorry to be pedantic, but you addressed the following words directly to me;

    “but try not to your hopes up too high about it in case they’re dashed. mind you, you’ve got the media on your side”,

    These words presume I am on one side of this argument, when as I have pointed out I am in fact on the other side. So clearly you did in fact jump to a wrong conclusion.

  40. The only thing I’d say is that if the police had got on with it – they’ve already had more than 3 weeks – there might have been a decision not to prosecute and the whole thing would have quickly died.

    For God’s sake, Brian – would you like to think about that for a moment, and retract it? The Police often spend weeks if not months investigating charges of this nature before laying charges for pretty obvious reasons — we don’t live in a television show where evidence lands in the police’s laps just before the next ad break.

    This might come as a bit of a surprise, but sexual offenders are seldom obliging enough to commit their crimes in well-lit public places with good CCTV coverage and dozens of willing witnesses.

    BE: “For God’s sake, Brian…” My goodness, Craig, this must have been a serious breach on my part to get you so riled up.

    Two conflicting versions of what happened; no witnesses other than the complainant and the complainee; full cooperating from both; a naked man (automatically identified if it was the student; almost certainly irrelevant if it wasn’t); some items removed from the King house; and by the middle of next week they’ll have been investigating the complaint for a month.

    Have you considered the possibility that the cops hate this sort of case because of its enormously high profile and the unwelcome pressure that that brings both from the public and the politicians? And that this makes them overly cautious with the nett result that justice is delayed?

    Or is it just that decent people don’t criticise the police?

  41. Craig Ranapia: Are you really prepared to label someone a sexual offender based on nothing more than an unsubstantiated complaint? I don’t think we’re there yet.

    And can I just ask: have the police actually confirmed that the complaint concerns an alleged sexual offence? I don’t see this in the police statement. Is an assumption being made?

    BE: “And can I just ask: have the police actually confirmed that the complaint concerns an alleged sexual offence? I don’t see this in the police statement. Is an assumption being made?” You know, I’ve been wondering that for some time. I’m happy to be told where/when this was stated by the police.

  42. Certainly some “offence” was taken by the young lad,who bolted and didn’t look back lest he turned into a pillar of salt. Latest reports suggest that Darren has been known to hit up on young men and “offence” was taken.
    Had the same thing happen to me at about the same age as the complainant and found the whole experience quite distasteful to say the least.

  43. Jonathan Marshall is now calling the alleged assault “sexual abuse”, which suggests ongoing offending rather than an assault or a sexual assault of a child. I actually despair.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4814124/Mother-fears-son-will-pay-price

    This article is irresponsible journalism. Just from reading The Dominion Post and New Zealand Herald I now know that an alleged victim of sexual assault is:

    – Male
    – 18-years old
    – A former Youth MP
    – For a Labour list MP
    – Regional school debater
    – From outside of Wellington
    – Attended prestigious school
    – Currently living in Halls in Wellington

    How much googling is that going to take when the Youth MP list is widely available, as is the Facebook event for the debate? This emotional mother should have been heavily edited. She’s just contributed to what she fears – her son’s name getting out.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10715181

    This article is beyond gutter journalism. It’s a cut and paste of gossip from WhaleOil. What is the ‘further allegation’? A man makes pass at another man. The other man is asked if he wants to make a complaint – ‘He declined, saying the incident was a misguided “pass”.’ What an allegation!

  44. BE “You know, I’ve been wondering that for some time. I’m happy to be told where/when this was stated by the police.”
    Well, you seem to have believed that the police were investigating “alleged sexual impropriety” in your reply to John Reilly.

    BE: Clever boy.

  45. can craig be goebels in the next hitler video?
    and bill, i can be equally pedantic. read your march 26th 10.24 post. what other conclusion can be made ?- it’s fits precisely in the let’s encourage chinese whispers basket.or german whispers if you wish for a role.
    what actually amazes me is that we view and ‘approve”-through inaction- for example, teenagers beaten unconscious at school, hugh hefner groping starstruck teenagers and charlie sheen publicly revered for taking illegal drugs and kidapping prostitutes. what are western societie’s standards? how can we say, short of murder, that people are not fulfilling them.

  46. Brian,
    I agree with your concern about achieving ” a more equitable and fair political reality”
    I have just listened to Sunday’s Q+A programme on TV one
    where “the perception is all in politics mantra” was again highlighted.
    Current affairs/political analysis is not in a healthy state in New Zealand, despite this, no doubt NZers will wake up to the fact that what really matters for the future of this country is being neglected and that smile and wave [and good spin ] is not
    leading us to a better future. Dorothy.

  47. May I also add to my comment above that thanks to Jonathan Marshall’s article we also know the 18-year old features in a regional tv clip in which he talks about Darren Hughes. And, lives in Wellington halls of residence with 300 students (ie, Weir House). How has Marshall not completely outed the complainant?

    BE: Absolutely right. Bloody irresponsibe.

  48. Most of the comment here seems to regard Darren as the poor ‘victim’ in this mess.

    Not seeing much thought or sympathy for the young man involved.

    What makes someone so fearful that they run stark naked onto the street to escape?
    It has been reported that there are at least 2 separate witnesses (in cars) who saw this naked man.

    Can’t help thinking that this dialogue would be quite different if that person had been a young woman.

    BE: I’m not sure that you’re right that the balance of sympathy is for Hughes. If it is, an explanation might be that we know Hughes but of course we don’t know the 18-year-old. There’s also the fact that Hughes is that rare thing – a popular politician.

    There’s no evidence at the moment that the naked man was the 18-year-old. And if he was, was he naked when he ‘ran into a police car’?

  49. Darren Hughes should be seen for what he is — “all style over substance”, “the whole being less than the sum of the parts”.

    Feted by the Labour Desperates, looking for a saviour that turned out to be nothing more than a false god. These very same idolaters, who are shutting shut their eyes to the bloodbath — and decimation — across the Tasman.

    As for his surrogate mum, Helen Clark — Darren being the son she always wanted, but could never have — I can hear her wailing from here:

    “If I’ve told that boy, once, I’ve told him a thousand times…..”

    We owe the press a debt of gratitude. Especially, for reporting on Chris Carter’s latest maniacal shrieking, against Goff. Again, showing what a two-headed serpent, he really has proven himself to be.

    BE: Judy and I both agree this is about as far as we’ll allow you to go in the gratuitous abuse stakes, Merv.

  50. I’m surprised no-one has stated the blindingly obvious point here – the NZ public is unlikely to elect a gay Prime Minister in the foreseeable future. We may see ourselves as secular society, but the ingrained protestant mores of the NZ European combined with the Pacific and Asian conservatism in such matters would not allow us to follow Iceland’s lead, just yet. For that reason no political commentators, to my knowledge, have ever nominated any of the numerous gay Labour politicians as potential leaders and Hughes had apparently carefully hidden his sexual preferences – no doubt under advice from his mentor, the ex-school dental nurse. When he was ‘outed’, Darren obviously realised his prime ministerial dreams were over.

  51. Brian, given your obvious political leaning and remembering Labour’s attempt to include their ” 12year old with fake I.D. ” clause into their prostitution refom bill. I ask you this.. Did you feel the same ” Tragedy for the party and tragedy for the MP ” when accusation about Graham Capills sexploits emerged.
    Or is your heartfelt defence of deviancy restricted to that which is currently decriminalized through legislation ?
    Thought I’d throw this in , not wishing to disappoint Markus :-)

  52. Peter M, Grant Robertson has often been touted as a future Labour leader.

  53. @ Peter M

    “I’m surprised no-one has stated the blindingly obvious point here – the NZ public is unlikely to elect a gay Prime Minister in the foreseeable future”.

    No, no, no!

    Kindly stop prejudging the supposed bigotry of the NZ electorate.

    Hughes has remained in the closet to enhance his Prime Ministerial chances?! In the 21st century?! If so, it simply confirms his lack of political judgment.

    I remind you Helen Clark was the subject of numerous rumours regarding her sexuality. The vast majority of Kiwis couldn’t have cared less. Instead, they judged her on her merits.

    “no political commentators…have ever nominated any of the numerous gay Labour politicians as potential leaders”.

    Maybe because there are none who are! Gay rights was surely about gays, lesbians, and bi-sexuals being judged on their merits. Who of the “numerous gay Labour politicians” is PM material?! For that matter, who in their caucus, gay, straight, vegan, or Jedi makes the grade?! Precious few, I’d suggest.

    As a former party member, I’d suggest your line of thinking is symptomatic of why Labour has traditionally been in opposition – out of step with, misunderstanding, and blaming the elctorate, rather than having a good look in the mirror at their own failings. Contrast that with Clark’s political management skills. Instead of making excuses, problems got exorcised.

    Matt McCarten’s column in the HoS today said it all. Things are going bad for Key and the National government, and just when Labour should be making inroads, they shoot themselves in the foot over something that is equivalent to the theft of a thimble in a nunnery.

  54. 54

    I agree entirely, Kimbo, one need only look at the number of openly gay MPs in National as well as Labour over recent years (the Chris Carter thing wasn’t about his sexuality so much as his brain explosion), and perhaps the jackpot being the world first of Georgina Beyer (entirely open about her gender reassignment and colourful past) to see that the NZ electorate has grown up a hell of a lot. Even rural NZ is more accepting of, shall we say, “characters” than Peter M is willing to admit.

    Lloyd, if you really can’t grasp that this eighteen year old is an adult, and of consenting age, and entirely capable of saying no, or even screaming for Annette if he was too drunk to do anything else, not an eight year old girl, a vastly different context, you are beyond educating. But as you use the word “deviancy” in regard to the current matter, you are obviously some kind of bigot.

    In any case, this is all insubstantiated gossip and innuendo – if Hughes is gay, or bi, or whatever, and chooses to remain in the closet, that’s his business, though in which case he would be more sensible to hire a discrete rent boy from time to time and not make an idiot of himself like this (hypothetically), and would probably find it better for his mental health to just come out and come to terms with it (again hypothetically). But until I know more, I’m inclined to feel sorry for him for this, less so his lost career.

    I don’t know enough about the young man and what happened between them to make any other judgement than that, but Hughes doesn’t strike me as a dangerous predator.

  55. It is interesting that in today’s SST, Michael Laws’ take on things is essentially indistinguishable from BE’s. However, just picking a random left wing blog, Bomber Bradley on Tumeke says “Regardless of whether Darren is guilty or not, the massive lapse in judgment of having an 18 year old at your home at 2am in the morning after a boozy night on the town is enough to have been stepped down immediately”.

    When enemies become allies, and vice versa it is a sure sign of interesting times, if nothing else.

    I think I continue to agree with BE (and Michael Laws !?), I can’t see why entertaining a young adult in the privacy of your own home is automatically a bad thing.

    BE: I agreed with Laws’ column this week as well. And I don’t agree with Bomber. As you suggest, interesting times.

  56. @Bill Foster. “I think I continue to agree with BE (and Michael Laws !?), I can’t see why entertaining a young adult in the privacy of your own home is automatically a bad thing.”

    That would depend upon your idea of entertainment. Your guest may not be of your persuasion.

  57. 57

    Eer um, agreeing with Michael Laws, brain hurt, paradox… Aargh…
    Edward, if that eighteen-year-old is of sound mind and gives their concent, I or anyone else is entitled to do whatever the hell I, the eighteen-year-old (and the Archbishop of Canterbury for that matter) like so long as (1) we are not breaking the law, and (2) not doing it in the street and frightening the horses. The age thing is a total canard.

  58. Maybe APW, but Mother Nature doesn’t seem to reward men who go squirting their seed in the wrong place. The organs concerned were not designed for such activity. Then on the other hand.. maybe its a relief valve against a dangerous population explosion.

    BE: Can’t say I care much for this comment, Edward.

  59. Had Labour got their way with the Prostitution Reform Act , It would have become legal to have sex with a consenting 12 year old child as long as a fake ID and $20 could be produced.
    Just because something is legalized doesn’t automatically make it inoffensive.
    I’m sure our liberal ,progressive Labourites would have long decriminalized activity between consenting species were it not for the danger of millions of Australians dying from laughter. :-)

    BE: I’m sorry, Lloyd, with the exception of the second paragraph, this comment is rubbish.

  60. @Edward “That would depend upon your idea of entertainment. Your guest may not be of your persuasion.”

    Well yes, I was using the word “entertaining” in a broad sense, and I was also careful to insert the word “automatically” in my statement (“I can’t see why entertaining a young adult in the privacy of your own home is *automatically* a bad thing.”)

  61. 61

    Edward, Lloyd, the point you become utterly ridiculous is the point at which I stop crediting you with enough intelligence to bother arguind with you.

  62. Thank you .

  63. @APW. (and the Archbishop of Canterbury for that matter)
    Surely not the Archbishop of Canterbury! That would make him a hypocrite if he engaged in such activities. It is expressly forbidden in the Bible, which is the foundation and hand manual of the faith that he is the representative of.

  64. “This article is beyond gutter journalism. It’s a cut and paste of gossip from WhaleOil. What is the ‘further allegation’?”

    Tina is absolutely right. The account on WhaleOil is at best second hand hearsay. The journalist has not spoken to the alleged “complainant” or anyone else with knowledge of the facts. Repetition of this allegation in the press makes it third hand hearsay. Evidential value = nil. Lazy and misleading journalism!

    The other thing that is really bugging me in the reporting of this story is that when an 18 year (adult) high achiever from a good school makes a complaint it ought to be believed. On what basis are we reversing the presumption of innocence here?

    I have seen enough of 18 year old men away from home (and parental control) for the first time, in a new environment and with new freedoms, to know that are capable of behaving in ways that are entirely unpredictable – especially where consumption of alcohol is involved. This possibility seems to have been entirely excluded – but then it would make for a very different story I suppose…

  65. Brian, please read the early drafts of the bill , (before the clause was removed in negotiations with other parties) and explain to me exactly how I,ve got it wrong.

    BE: I will, Lloyd, but the point is that legislation of that nature would never have passed into law in New Zealand.

  66. Thanks for that , but the point actually is, that Labour tried it on .

  67. can craig be goebels in the next hitler video?

    *sigh* I’ll happily accept the role

    Craig Ranapia: Are you really prepared to label someone a sexual offender based on nothing more than an unsubstantiated complaint? I don’t think we’re there yet.

    Tina: First, I haven’t called Darren Hughes a sexual offender so please don’t fire up your straw man on my front lawn.

    However, I’ve seen multiple media reports that the complaint made (which is NOT a criminal conviction) is “of a sexual nature”. If those reports are inaccurate, I’ll not only say so but will also be laying multiple complaints to the Press Council and Broadcasting Standards Authority.

  68. BTW, Brian, I would like it on the record that I have NEVER made any comment here that (IMO) a reasonable person could interpret as calling Darren Hughes a “sexual offender.” Such a claim would not only be untrue, but (as I understand the law) actionably defamatory of Mr. Hughes.

    Tina: I’m certain there was no malice involved, but please be more careful in future about carelessly implying I’ve libelled anyone. I’ve already been threatened by a lawyer over a similar case, and I could do without a repeat.

  69. Brian , so after stating that my 12yo with fake ID comment was “RUBBISH” , you are now going to look for the clause that the other parties forced Labour to remove ?
    Did you call it rubbish because you hoped it wasn’t true ?
    Wouldn’t you rather do nothing and just keep ignoring the fact that Labours Caucus are the Liberal Minded, Forward Thinking Champions of sexual deviancy.
    When you find it, you can argue they only put it in to protect people who get tricked into having sex with 12 13 and 14 year olds…. Great spin …. they just never considered what a horrific loophole it was … even when battling to retain it. I suppose it’s a bit big for a Tui’s YEAH RIGHT add.
    It might be best if you just stick your head back in the sand…. just don’t do that when Darren is around.

    BE: Was it late at night when you wrote this, Lloyd? I gave what I thought was a reasonably conciliatory response to your original comment on this topic and you replied, ‘Thanks for that but the point actually is that Labour tried it on’. That seemed to me like a reasonable conclusion to this matter. Now we suddenly have this quite uncalled for piece of invective. If you want to send me the material you were referring to, I’ll read it and, if it says what you claim it says, I’ll happily condemn it. In the meantime I’d rather not be treated as some sort of Labour bigot who will defend anything the party or its members does. I’m not a member of the Labour Party, have no connection now with the Labour Party and, if you’ll care to go back through the posts on this site you’ll find that I’ve been critical of both sides in more or less equal measure.

  70. All I can say to that is ” Rubbish ”
    My knowledge of your writing is restricted to this case and you seem distinctly one eyed to the possibilities on this one. ” There’s only one victim here and it’s certainly not the victim.”

    BE: If you say so. LLoyd.

  71. I was just trying to bring a balancing insight to the one sided incredulity you displeyed here . The sheer dismissiveness of your response is what prompted my persiverance . I wont upset your sensibilities again.

  72. I started reading this string at the top of the page becuase it was a very interesting exploration of the boundary between public politics and private morality. I think that the Hughes story speaks to this issue.

    I’ve struggled with the debate because, while I think that Brian’s position is more logically consistent, I can’t square it with the facts of the Hughes story that have so far been made public.

    Conceptually, I agree that it should be perfectly ok for an MP to have concensual sex with an 18yo partner of the same sex without being hounded from the beehive by an angry press gallery bearing torches.

    And yet I don’t agree with Hughes’ conduct in this instance and I think that Goff should have “accepted his resignation” much, much earlier.

    Googling and facebooking the little sequence outlined in Tina’s post above appears to identify a person that appears more boy than man (supported by the reported comments of the mother).

    Let’s assume for a moment that we are in fact dealing with a complainant who is someone’s much loved young son living away from home for the first time in his life, in the halls of residence. Let’s assume that this first year student has over indulged in alcohol in the company of one of our country’s MPs whom he respects and admires.

    In these circumstances it’s not actually ok (even if it may be legal) for an older, sophisticated MP in a position of responsibility and relative power (compared with this very young man) to place himself in a situation where an accusation of sexual assault can be made. It’s not ok to be in a compromising situation with a very drunk, vlunerable first year student (regardless of anything that subsequently occured).

    Just for starters, in these circumstances, consent would very likely be perceived to be an issue. Then there is also a likely perception that the relative power differential between the two men could well have been exploited somehow.

    The very fact that there has been a complaint, and that a young man of some credibility and good background feels as if something very wrong has occured, should have been sufficient to immediately secure Mr Hughes’ resignation. The Labour Party has always stood strongly against sexual violence and the contrast of the established position of the party with the facts of this case (revealed so far) is too great.

    The particular set of circumstances in this case were completely inconsistent with Mr Hughes being able to remain in his role. Mr Hughes should have known this, his leader should certainly have known it. They should have known it weeks ago.

    On a more trivial note. Given the important issues under discussion, it’s a shame that this blog string has degenerated “Lloyd’s Last Word”. Prostitution in New Zealand is now deciminalised. The law was reviewed twice during the 2005-2008 parliament and was found to be working well. Get over it Lloyd. Or at least stop boring the rest of us rigid.

    BE: OK but it still comes down to this: Only two people really know what happened that morning – the boy and Hughes. The rest of us are pretty well in the dark and can little more than engage in speculative scenarios. Our biases may affect which scenario we find most likely. I note that you speak of the 18-year-old as ‘a young man of some credibility and good background’. I’m not sure how you determined that. I know Darren Hughes reasonably well and I have a high opinion of him. But where sex is concerned none of us can read the hearts and minds of other people. What we have to do now is stop speculating and wait (for how much longer?) for the police either to charge or not charge Darren with a crime. In the meantime he has assured the country that he has done nothing wrong.

  73. Really Stuart ? There isn’t a single word in my thread that would indicate I’m not 100% happy with the Act as it stands.
    It’s purely about that section that Labour was forced to ommit and what a vivid indication of the enviroment Darren Hughes has be nurtured in, that is .
    But then you knew that.

  74. @Craig Ranapia

    “Tina: I’m certain there was no malice involved, but please be more careful in future about carelessly implying I’ve libelled anyone. I’ve already been threatened by a lawyer over a similar case, and I could do without a repeat.”

    Well, that was mighty confusing. I didn’t carelessly imply anything about you. But I now see you are referring to TT’s comment. Perhaps you’d like to be less careless when getting your knickers in a twist!