Susie Ferguson, in her regular weekly grilling of Chris Luxon, was determined to get her pound of flesh after Marie Dew’s independent investigation failed to uphold the accusation against Sam Uffindell, originally reported on Radio NZ.
Although 14 people contributed to the investigation, the accuser, for whom the procedure was arranged, failed to show, only submitting a written statement making it very difficult for Dew to adequately explore the matter.
When the day came to appear, her keenness to prove her case was overshadowed by her fear of having to step up and face intensive questioning to prove she was telling the truth.
Luxon, with his swift action on the matter for which he has been praised, in essence, called her bluff.
She was prepared to smear another’s character via the media, but folded like an envelope when faced with full scrutiny herself; and also was prepared to cost the taxpayer thousands of dollars on a wild goose chase which in the event did not have enough substance to justify the inquiry or possibly find in her favour.
It is clear that the accuser did not expect such a quick response (if any) from National’s leader to her allegations. Arranging (at lightning speed) an independent investigation with a respected (then) QC, meant her words would be put under the spotlight.
Having a ‘trial by media’ where she could make her accusation with little scrutiny was so much easier. That quickly came to a halt.
In a normal investigation, the accuser gets their chance to put their case first. In essence ‘the burden of proof’ which Fergusson referred to, was with her. She made the accusation and it was denied by Uffindell, so it was up to her to prove it.
But she did not have the stomach for it.
Marie Dew only had the accuser’s written statement to work with and was faced with an imbalance of information as there was no opportunity for questioning and revisiting issues to get as clear a picture as possible. Also, no chance to get to know and assess the validity and character of the accuser during meetings and to hear her story in person, as she did with the accused and other contributors.
It would have been very difficult for Dew to have upheld the accuser’s accusation as she refused to participate, referring to the investigation as “a political snow job – bought and paid for by the National Party”.
She refused to put her money where her mouth was but is now prepared to speak up (again) via the media, requesting that an incomplete investigation in which her contribution was minimal, be made public.
This point is conveniently overlooked in Fergusons’s emotive assessment when she came to the conclusion:
If Luxon accepted the inquiry outcome and Uffindell’s version of events he actually believed the accuser is a liar, (by default insulting Marie Dew).
If the cap fits, Susie.
However, Luxon kept referring to Marie Dew’s findings which he says he faithfully followed, and would not go into his personal assessment.
Luxon was no fun on Susie’s show and refused to play her game. As we know, the left like to get down and dirty and make it personal when losing an argument, rather than stick to the facts and use logic and reason.
In summary, Susie Ferguson’s approach with National is to attack, (her charm offensive she retains for the PM and her ministers).
And to think she is paid handsomely by the taxpayer for her lack of decorum, tact, balance and intellect.
Wendy Geus is a former speechwriter and generalist communications advisor in local government. She now writes for the pure love of it. This article was first published HERE