Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 14. 1966.
October 7, 1966
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of VUWSA.
The Basic Issues are clear in the National Party incident exposed by this paper last Monday.
Use of security information for political purposes is completely repugnant to this country's system of government.
This information is collected for our national security and defence —not for shabby political smear work.
The students association has condemned Mr. Laurenson and Mr. Barnes—and rightly so.
Mr. Laurenson's delight in showing that he had "contacts in high places" is sadly reminiscent of the pathetic glory which the Auckland Security officer, Mr. D. Godfrey, took in his job.
It is quite clear that he intended to try to destroy Mr. Boshier's political reputation if he could obtain any suitable information.
Some have sought to defend the actions of Mr. Barnes in this matter.
We have sympathy for his situation, for we are all fallible. But this does not lessen the mistake he made nor the condemnation which he must receive for it.
We can see no logical reason why Mr. Barnes should have rung Security Intelligence — unless he intended to obtain information and pass it back to Mr. Laurenson. He himself had no possible use for the information.
At the same time, he deserves the benefit of the slight possibility that, had he received highly confidential information, he might have realised his mistake and refused to pass it back to Mr. Laurenson.
By the very nature of his post, he was in a better position to obtain the information than Mr. Laurenson was.
Thus his refusal to put Mr. Laurenson in touch with Security is hardly a point in his favour. Mr. Laurenson stood a better chance of getting the information he wanted.
Security Intelligence appears to have acted with propriety throughout the incident. Yet we must express disquiet that any information, however well known, should have been given or confirmed by Security.
And Mr. Boshier can find small comfort in the knowledge that he is "known to Security."
A final word. We set out, in last Monday's special Salient, a carefully checked, unshakeable fact sequence.
Probably the National Party will now turn to attack the bona fides of those involved. After all, this is the very tactic they intended to use against Mr. Boshier.
The first sign of such tactics will be the clearest possible admission of the National Party's guilt.— H.B.R.
And in conclusion ...
This Issue is the twenty-sixth and last issue of Salient which I will edit. In two years of my editorship, Salient has published just on a million words.
I first joined Salient because I believe that this paper can be a significant part of university life and of value to the Wellington community as well.
I believe students have much that is important to say. I think that when said clearly and responsibly, it will be listened to.
I think students are too caught up in the myths of "student apathy" and the "student image". They are in fact part of a widely varied and at times quite exciting community which is more alive and more important than almost any other group of a similar size in New Zealand.
New Zealand's future will be shaped by today's university students. The only limit on what can be done is the enthusiasm of those who try to do it.
I wish next year's editors, Mr. G. Currie and Mr. B. Saunders, success in a job which contains much drudgery but which is never dull.
I wish to thank all—readers, contributors, cranks, anonymous tipsters, politicians, security policemen — who have helped or hindered Salient in my time as editor.
"Whatsoever we dare to thinkthat dare we also say." I hope this sentiment will long continue to be the spirit in which this paper is conducted.—H.B.R.