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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 1. 1969.

Guilt By Association, Sacked Writer Claims

Guilt By Association, Sacked Writer Claims

A 21-year-old writer, Rhys Pasley, has resigned from his position in the Public Relations Office of the Wellington City Corporation because of his association with the national satirical publication "Cock".

In its most recent issue (November, 1968), Cock" contained a reference to the Mayor of Wellington, Sir Francis Kitts.

On November 21, Rhys was asked by the Public [unclear: Officer], Mr. J. G. Thomson, if he was [unclear: asso] with "Cock".

Rhys agreed that he was, whereupon Mr. [unclear: Thomson]ferred to the paragraph concerning the mayor.

Rhys said he was aware of this, but that he [unclear: had] personally to do with the reference.

Mr Thomson did not [unclear: chal] this assertion but remarked that Councillor [unclear: John] had seen the [unclear: Mayor's] reading the [unclear: publica]

Mr Turk had seen Rhys' [unclear: name] on it and had [unclear: mentioned] matter to Mr Thomson.

The folowing day, Mr [unclear: Thom] called Rhys into his [unclear: office] showed him the [unclear: offend] paragraph.

"This is very bad," he said.

At that point, Rhys told Salient, he agreed with Mr Thomson he was [unclear: associated] "Cock" as a poetry contributor and as a unofficial [unclear: poetry]

"Mr Thomson asserted that my association with the magazine had caused 'untold harm' to the mayor, his wife, Lady Iris, the council, himself and the corporation as a whole," Rhys said.

"I asked him if this was guilt by association, and then he said I could redeem myself by resigning immediately from this office".

"I replied that I would be glad to.

"I wrote out my resignation and delivered it to Mr [unclear: Thomson] who said I should have resigned from 'Cock".

"I told him again I had no influence over editorial policy or decisions of "Cock".

"I am quite sure that had I merely contributed to "Cock" by mail I would have still lost my job.

Mr Thomson told me he would have been prepared to stand up for me if I 'had done something defensible'," Rhys said.

The following Monday Rhys learned the Labour Councillor, Mrs O. E. Smuts-Kennedy chairman of the public relations committee, felt he should have his job back. "We know when to see her, she suggested I seethe Town Clerk," Rhys said. "So far as she was concerned I could return to the corporation."

Mrs Smuts-Kennedy told Salient that she had suggested Rhys re-open the case. "I thought his resignation was premature," she said. Rhys said he went to see the Town Clerk the following Friday. "I re-stated my case, and was told to apply for re-instatement. He said the application would be treated 'very sympathetically,," he said. Two weeks later Rhys received a letter declining his application.

Rhys said he sought legal advice and although originally told he had a good case for wrongful dismissal he found this was not easily proved.

Continued ON P. 3

Sir Francis Kitts

Sir Francis Kitts

page 3

Continued From P. 1

Rhys Pasley was told an anonymous caller speaking for the city corporation rang the Social Security Department and informed them that Rhys was co-editor of Cock. Rhys said he had been registered as unemployed for about three weeks when he was informed of the call. "The Social Security clerk said the caller had said you were 'ass-holed' from the corporation," he said.

"I am sure this prejudiced my job chances," he said.

The editor of "Cock", Chris Wheeler, said that Rhys had not supplied him with the information.

"At no time has it been suggested that he did," Chris said.

"At no time has it been suggested the information was libellious, untrue, or in any way incorrect."

Chris said in his opinion the whole incident had originated from a very trivial matter.

The Public Relations Officer, Mr. J. G. Thomson, refused to comment on the situation.

He said a legal action was underway and felt it "would be quite improper" for him to make any comment.

Mr. Thomson did object to the Salient reporter saying he would published that remark.

The Assistant Town Clerk, Mr. Pringle, also refused to comment because of the legal action Rhys is taking.