Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 17. July 23, 1968
Riddiford says speech misreported
Riddiford says speech misreported
Mr D. Riddiford, MP for Wellington Central, has said the Evening Post "badly misreported" a portion of his recent speech which mentioned student demonstrators.
Mr Riddiford, referring to the demonstration of June 26. was reported as saying: "This gang (of students) rushed into the place left by the departing workers who had been peaceful in their demonstration, defied the police and attempted to let loose a tirade of disorder and perhaps death on the people of New Zealand."
Doug wrote to Mr Riddiford saying the statement was "factually inaccurate" and asking him for clarification.
Replying. Mr Riddiford said that the statement taken by the Post was just one passage from his speech and it had been given prominence while the rest of his speech had been disregarded.
Mr Riddiford included a photo-stat copy of the Hansard report of his Address-in Reply and pointed out the errors the Post reporter had made.
"A further difficulty had arisen because for some reason. the cause of which I am unaware, I must have been somewhat inaudible when I spoke of letting loose a train of disorder, and the Evening Post recorded it as a "tirade of disorder'.
"Obviously I did not use the word 'tirade', which does not make sense.
"The Hansard reporter failed to record the word I did use, which was 'train'."
Replying to Doug Whites remarks that the news media had used the incidents at Parliament to create a sensation to keep pace with the sensational reporting of overseas riots, he said he did not consider that the rest of his speech was open to objection.
"As to the rest of what occurred. I was myself an eyewitness until a short time before 2.30 p.m.
"In my opinion it was a very ugly crowd and I say this without any exaggeration.
"I do not know what influences were at work in the crowd, but they were in a mood where they could easily have given way to violence." Mr Riddiford said.
In his letter Doug claimed there was little violence and said that a senior policeman had told him that the demonstration had been carried out with the minimum of violence.
He said that inquiries into the damage done to the Australian High Commissioner's car had shown that students were not involved.
Only one student had been arrested.
Doug said that students joined the unionists rather than filling the gap they had vacated, as press reports and Mr Riddiford's letter suggested.
Neither did students make up the majority of the crowd as press reports stated, a large number of workers and others remained when students arrived.
Mr Riddiford refuted these suggestions in his letter and drew attention to the last page of the Hansard report where he said, "The University is unfortunately associated with this to some extent, even if these were an unrepresentative number of students—I wish to state that this was a deplorable incident.
"I hope there will be no recurrence of it.
"I hope it will be totally isolated and that the work that student leaders have done to improve the image of the University and to develop good relations with the citizens of Wellington will not be undone."
Mr Riddiford finished by saying that he hoped that the University would still count him as one of its friends.