Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Colin Craig pulls candidate into line

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig.
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig.

Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig has been forced to pull one of his candidates into line after he threatened to name the prominent New Zealander and sex offender who Labour Leader David Cunliffe recently met with.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald earlier this week that during his recent holiday he had met with the person who has been the subject of recent media coverage in relation to their name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.

Mr Cunliffe said he had no idea about the person's controversial background until afterwards.

But the Conservative Party's Steve Taylor, who is standing against Mr Cunliffe in his New Lynn seat, attacked the Labour Leader for not naming the person.

"I am over the obfuscation, the weasel words, and the continual "trickiness" my opponent seems to have with the truth - if Mr Cunliffe refuses to name the person - I will", Mr Taylor said in a statement.

"We cannot have the non-resident MP of my electorate in New Lynn conduct himself in such a cowardly fashion - in one week to apologise for being a man in front of a Women's Refuge Conference, and the next week dine with a self-confessed sexual groper".

But within two hours of Mr Taylor's comments, Mr Craig said that while Mr Cunliffe's meeting with the person "looked dodgy", he had "advised our candidates that they may not break suppression orders".

"Therefore we will not be releasing this perpetrator's name."

Nevertheless, there was "no question that name suppression is inappropriate in cases like this, and it is our intention to change the law in this regard".

"The victim in this case wishes the perpetrator to be publicly identified, and I believe it's time the law prioritised victim's rights ahead of those who do the crime," Mr Craig said.

- NZ Herald

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