Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 14. 1966.
Mr Holyoake dodges the issue
Mr Holyoake dodges the issue
Mr. Holyoake, faced with the VUWSA allegations set out in last Monday's special Salient, has chosen to concentrate on exonerating his private secretary, Mr. P. A. Barnes.
In doing so, he has impliedly' confirmed the association's charges against the National Party official involved, and also dodged the main issue at stake.
President John McGrath says the most significant aspect of Mr. Holyoake's letter is that he makes no issue of the statements in it regarding Mr. Laurenson.
"Mr. Holyoake confirms that a purpose of Mr. Laurenson's phone call to Mr. Barnes was to secure information for the New Zealand National Party from the Security Service about Mr. Boshier," says Mr. McGrath.
But, although Mr. McGrath's letter expressly asked for an explanation of Mr. Laurenson's actions. Mr. Holyoake has not provided an explanation.
The students' association letter explicitly condemns both persons and asks for two explanations, but Mr. Holyoake's letter is phrased as if there were only one charge.
A special executive meeting is to be held to determine what altitude the students' association will take following Mr. P. A. Barnes's statement and the Prime Minister's letter.
At a normal meeting of the executive last Wednesday, men's vice-president Ian McKinnon unsuccessfully sought the resclsion of the executive's motion condemning Mr. Barnes.
The move, which was deleated by 11 votes to two. followed the publication of Mr. Barnes's statement.
It was Mr. McKinnon's in— tention to move a new motion criticising Mr. Barnes's actions, but in terms less strong than the condemnation of Mr. Laurenson.
However executive members were in no mood to weaken their stand.
Following the unexepected failure of the Prime Minister to defend Mr. Laurenson. they can be expected to press for strong action against him.
In his letter Mr. Holyoake says "I am satisfied that his (Mr. Laurenson's) conversation was not solelv to secure information for the New Zealand National Party from the Security Service about Mr. Boshier."
It is on this sentence that Mr. McGrath bases his assertion that one purpose of Mr. Laurenson's phone call was to obtain security information about Mr. Boshier for political use.
The Labour Party on Wednesday brought the matter into the House of Representatives.
Labour speakers angrily charged that the Government, by using a part of the urgent question procedure, had curtailed the time which should have been available for the debate by nearly an hour.
Labour speakers concentrated on the alleged existence of an American security service in New Zealand, and on the actions of Mr. Laurenson.
Copies of "Salient" were prominent on both sides of the House during the debate. and National members had been well supplied with photostats of Committee on Vietnam material. and of some of Mr. Boshier's advertisements and letters to the editor.
Mr. Holyoake said the American ambassador denied that there was an American Security Service in New Zealand.
He did not attempt to explain how Mr. Laurenson was able lo ring something which did not exist.
Flourishing the green-crested notepaper of the Security Service, he announced that the Security chief Brigadier H. E. Gilbert. had volunteered that Mr. McGrath's charges were "totally unjustified."
This contrasted with Security's refusal to comment on the charges when asked to by Salient five days earlier.
Mr. Holyoake read to the House a statement by Mr. P. A. Barnes.
Mr. Barnes admitted in his statement that "I told Mr. Laurenson of the non-confidential information I had received."
Just what this information is was not stated. However, in giving evidence before executive the previous Friday, Mr. McKinley, president, National Party Club, was asked:
Q. What actually did Mr. Laurenson say Security said about Mr. Boshier?
A. What Mr. Laurenson said as I remember it was that as far as Security knew he was not a fellow traveller and not a Communist.
He also indicated that the information on Mr. Boshier dated back only to 1962.
It's incorrect to say that they only knew of his association with the Vietnam Committee—Mr. Laurenson knew this when he rang up.
At the same meeting. Mr. Logan was asked:
Q. Do you agree with Mr. McKinley's evidence about 1962 and not being a fellow traveller—he said those?
A. Yes. definitely.
Basing his action on this. Mr. Boshier has now called for the release of his file (see separate story).