Sexual harassment

Shelley Bridgeman says wheeling out political wives is ‘demeaning and humiliating’

A good observation by Shelley Bridgeman about Monday’s shameful press conference by Colin Craig.

By wheeling out his wife in times of strife, Colin Craig was observing a tradition beloved of male politicians.

He was merely using his nearest and dearest in an attempt to sanitise his image. In a statement, his wife, Helen Craig, said: “I do not often speak to the media but I choose to stand with my husband here today in full love and support of him”.

If those words sound familiar, even somewhat plagiarised, it’s probably because of the Tammy Wynette song Stand by Your Man – the lyrics of which make me feel a little queasy:

“You’ll have bad times, and he’ll have good times
Doin’ things that you don’t understand
But if you love him, you’ll forgive him.”

Then, of course, the famous chorus goes: “Stand by your man, and show the world you love him”.

It’s difficult to believe that politicians are still taking inspiration from a sentimental song that has its origins in the 1960s.

How can anyone think such a retro approach to indiscretions and blind loyalty is the best response in the 21st century?

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Conservatives in disarray as board resignations mount


It seems no one can countenance the weasel-words of Colin Craig any more, as 5 board members quit yesterday.

The Conservative Party is in meltdown mode, with six board members resigning today after Colin Craig’s admission of inappropriate conduct with his press secretary.

But the disarray could mean Mr Craig gets the leadership back.

The party’s board had 10 members. Christine Rankin has resigned, along with Mr Craig’s brother, Andrew.

“I don’t have any concerns about that,” said Mr Craig. “I have a wonderful relationship with my brother.”

So have Regan Monahan, Melissa Perkin, Nathaniel Heslop and Roy Brown.

Brian Dobbs, the chairman, said he was considering resigning. Paul Young was also considering.  

Laurence Day is overseas on holiday. John Stringer is staying, but faces disciplinary action as the outspoken critic.

That means six have resigned and two are considering resigning. Just two board members might be left, although they could go too.

“I would say no, [the Conservatives are not dead],” said Mr Craig. 

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Surely 6 feet is enough for your political grave


Colin Craig just won’t shut his big mouth.

He continues to speak to media when he states he won’t be issuing any more statements or taking any questions.

His leadership debacle is rumbling on and all he is doing is making his already deep political grave even deeper.

Take this comment to Fairfax:

Craig said he would need to discuss MacGregor’s request to be released from the confidentiality agreement with his lawyers. He was not ruling it out.

“She’s offered the opportunity to perhaps lift some confidentiality and we might not be opposed to that.”

On MacGregor’s statement about inaccuracies, Craig said he had received no correspondence “that anything I’ve said is inaccurate”.

Good grief. He starts by saying he would need to discuss her request and then says he has received no correspondence…did he miss the press release that everyone got? Presumably he also missed the letter from MacGregor’s lawyers requesting release from confidentiality.   Read more »

Here come the threats from Colin Craig

Colin Craig is going legal, it is his usual tactics…the tactics of a coward and a bully.

As is usual he wants to use his wallet to intimidate people, to cost them a great deal of money defending themselves…in order to silence them.

He says he is going to announce what he intends to do about “scurrilous” publications.

John Stringer spoke out this morning saying he was sick of a culture of confidentiality being used to cover up what he called abhorrent behaviour.

He also said he wrote a year ago with concerns about Mr Craig’s working relationship with his former press secretary.

Colin Craig said Mr Stringer was wrong with many of the things he said, but could not say what.

“I’ve only seen the interview and there was a lot of content in it, I had not yet had the opportunity to work through piece by piece, but I have listened to it and I’ve taken already some preliminary advice.    Read more »

From the Trenches: Report from the Conservative Party – today’s update [UPDATED]

colin craig hope

So, basically put, yesterday was smoke and mirrors.  Craig created a technical retreat, but doesn’t intend to stand down at all.  He has communicated that to his supporters today.

We’ve run the numbers, and it appears that Colin is not going to go anywhere.  Not unless one of his supporters changes sides between now and the final vote of confidence.

So that really raises the question:  who are these people still backing Colin Craig?   And why do they see benefit in having a party leader who has just paid for someone’s silence in a sexual harassment claim?   Finally, why do these people think that the Conservative Party is best served by Colin Craig?

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Craig still toying with his board like an insignificant little plaything

A furious faction on the Conservative Party board is moving to block Colin Craig’s return to the leadership after he ignored an ultimatum to inform them of sexual harassment allegations.

Craig resigned as leader at a press conference on Friday and said he would “facilitate a review” of the leadership.

It has now emerged he is at the centre of allegations of sexual harassment, manifested in love poems and texts reported on right-wing blog WhaleOil.

Questions about the allegations involving a former staff member were put to Craig at the end of his press conference, but he refused to respond. He also could not be reached for comment later on Friday. It is understood the staff member is Craig’s former press secretary Rachel MacGregor, who abruptly resigned two days before the 2014 general election. MacGregor did not return calls for comment on Friday.

It is understood the Conservative Party board is deeply divided over Craig’s future in the job.

Some board members are understood to be furious that Craig left room during his press conference for a possible return as leader. They are also angry Craig postponed a board meeting, where they expected his leadership to be put to the vote, after many of them flew to Auckland for it.

A board member, who did not want to be named, said the board was “outraged”.

“Colin arbitrarily postponed our board meeting, which he doesn’t have the right to do. [The press conference] is the first we heard of that.

“This review that he’s invented, nobody’s ever discussed that – it’s never come up in conversation. There’s no review as far as any of the board members are concerned.”

Asked if the allegations amounted to sexual harassment, the board member said: “That’s what has been written to us, we understand it was a sexual harassment claim, and we know that that is the case”. Read more »

Will the Conservative Party survive Colin Craig?

via Newstalk ZB

via Newstalk ZB


Oh, they may still run in the next election, and perhaps one more, but they won’t make it into Parliament.  And here’s why.

The Conservatives had a very narrow window to throw all the bad stuff out with Colin, and create a fresh start.

The problem is that the people on the board, by and large, aren’t politicians.   Politicians would never have agreed to a process that lets someone who has just paid to make a sexual harassment complaint to go away to 1) remain in the party  2) to still potentially run for the leadership anyway, and 3) do this over a number of weeks, perhaps even months.   Read more »

EXCLUSIVE: The poem Colin Craig doesn’t want you to see


WhaleOil Media can reveal that Colin Craig failed to tell the Conservative Party’s Board that he previously faced serious allegations of sexual harassment from a former staff member in a complaint laid with the Human Rights Commission. It is understood that the claim lead to a confidential payout which until recently the Board were unaware of.

We have been told by members of the Board that they were assured on multiple occasions by Colin Craig that no allegations of a sexual or moral nature were involved and relied on one element of the claim, a series of unpaid invoices or a dispute in relation to the employee’s hourly rate, to hide the more serious allegations.

WhaleOil Media understands that no sexual relationship resulted, but Colin Craig is alleged to have pursued the staffer including sending a large volume of text messages, letters and inappropriate touching.

A source, which was supporting the victim as the events unfolded last year, has provided WhaleOil Media with some of the letters and text messages.

We are still working through the material.   Read more »

Sexual harassment sees students thrown out of Auckland Grammar

Four students have been excluded from one of the country’s top schools for taking and sending images that constituted “harassment”.

Police were consulted on Auckland Grammar School’s decision this week to exclude the boys, who were all aged under 16 years.

Students under 16 are excluded from a school and placed into another, whereas those over 16 are expelled as they are no longer required by law to attend.

Headmaster Tim O’Connor said some of the students had taken and sent photos via a messaging app.

Mr O’Connor said the images involved “a variety of forms of harassment” including “forms of sexual harassment”.

“Some students took photos, some students distributed them, some did both.”

Some students were in the photos, he said. Read more »

How much for a ponytail pull?

A Hamilton business owner maintains he has the “moral victory” even though he must pay a former employee $5000 for slapping her on the bottom.

Ella Newman, 23, a former garden assistant at The Plant Place in Hamilton, resigned on December 29 last year alleging the business’s shareholder and director Bruce Sanson had “slapped” her on the bottom and sexually harassed her over the course of her two-year employment.

The matter went to the Employment Relations Authority which ruled the slap was done in “jest” and Newman was ordered to pay her employer $5000.

Newman appealed the decision, and on Wednesday was vindicated during a Judicial Settlement Hearing, where a deal was nutted out preventing it from going to an Employment Court hearing.

The terms of the settlement are that Sanson is to pay Newman $5000. He agreed to have and pay for an HR advisor to do one session about employment practices, with a focus on sexual harassment. He has apologised to Newman about the slap.  Read more »