Colin Craig chastises candidate over name threat
Conservative leader Colin Craig has hauled the party’s New Lynn candidate Steve Taylor into line for threatening to name a "prominent New Zealander" who has permanent name suppression.
The man admitted committing an indecent act against a woman but was given name suppression and discharged without conviction.
Craig said his candidate, who calls himself Steve "Waitakere Man" Taylor, would not be naming the man, who Labour leader David Cunliffe met in Queenstown last week.
Cunliffe said he did not know about that aspect of the man’s history before he met him.
Craig said he agreed with Taylor that ‘‘it does not look good for David Cunliffe’’.
"But I’ve also made it clear to our candidates they can’t break a suppression order. Much as I disagree with the law, and I think it is ridiculous people like this get suppression, we’re not actually going to break a suppression order ... even though we may feel like."
He said Taylor had accepted that. He had known there was a court order in place, but his press statement was not signed off before it was released.
‘‘Like many New Zealanders ... he’s really upset about the soft approach we take to criminals in this country ... in his mind it’s ridiculous that someone can do this sort of thing and because of who they are they get special treatment and get let off the hook in terms of accountability,’’ Craig said.
He understood Taylor’s sentiment. Taylor wanted Cunliffe ‘‘to come clean under parliamentary privilege or something along those lines’’, Craig said.
But Labour’s justice spokesman Andrew Little said while there was public disquiet, the judge would have all the circumstances of the case when the suppression order was made. The separation of roles between Parliament and the courts needed to be respected. ‘‘Whatever the level of public clamour, we owe it to the judiciary not to name him.’’ Taylor said in his statement that the Labour leader, who he is challenging for the New Lynn seat at the September 20 election, was being tricky.
‘‘If Mr Cunliffe refuses to name the person – I will,’’ Taylor had said.
The man has been named online overseas prompting him to call in his lawyers.
Craig said he was happy for Taylor to stay on as a candidate for the Conservatives.