Minister: I'm too busy to join a sex club

Investigate magazine claimed last night that Cabinet Minister David Benson-Pope is a member of a sado-masochistic sex club.

The publication said on its website that Mr Benson-Pope was a member of Southern Kinx, which lists itself as a bondage and discipline sado-masochism (BDSM) club.

One club member said that Mr Benson-Pope, MP for Dunedin South, was not a member. Mr Benson-Pope said that he had taken legal advice about Investigate editor Ian Wishart and his lawyer had been in contact with television networks.

"Enough is enough. You've seen my diary. When would I have time for this?" he said.

Mr Wishart said that he believed his allegations were correct.

The story, which readers need a credit card to access, revisits previous allegations about the MP.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Helen Clark said she would not be calling Mr Benson-Pope in for a meeting in the wake of the allegations.

The Investigate story was part of an "ongoing smear campaign", and she would not comment further.

Mr Benson-Pope's office said the minister would not be making any comment.

The website for the Dunedin group Southern Kinx describes it as a "pansexual group for all adults interested in BDSM and related fetishes". "We are a varied group of people, from all types of backgrounds, and of all ages, who come together to enjoy social meetings and play parties. By meeting together and sharing ideas, we can all learn from each other."

The group says it is not a swingers' group or a dating service.

Members meet in Dunedin on the second Thursday of each month. The meetings are called "munches".

Earlier, it was decided Mr Benson-Pope would not face charges in relation to historic assault allegations when he was a teacher at Bayfield High School in Dunedin, despite a police inquiry concluding there was a prima facie case.

It was alleged that while a teacher at Bayfield school he taped a pupil's hands to a desk and stuffed a tennis ball in his mouth and was involved in another incident which resulted in Mr Benson-Pope giving a pupil a bloody nose.

Mr Wishart said he had not received any legal notification from Mr Benson-Pope and "couldn't care less if he tried".

- OTAGO DAILY TIMES

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