Aaron Gilmore looks set to remain in Parliament, at least until his party can dig up more dirt on him and compel him to resign. This has always seemed like a pretty stupid story to me: total nobody is mildly offensive. What’s more interesting is how comprehensively the lawyer who dined with Gilmore – Andrew Riches – has destroyed this idiot’s career.
Riches left a note for staff at the restaurant apologising for Gilmore’s behavior He also seems to have been the person who took the story to the media. Then, when Gilmore made a public apology Riches came forwards, contradicted the apology and expanded the story, adding that Gilmore invoked the name of the Prime Minister’s Office.
Then several days of media feeding frenzy later, Gilmore makes another public apology via a press conference. The next day Riches leaks the text messages between Gilmore and himself which contradict the version of events that Gilmore gave at the press conference.
It’s that final bit that interests me. It wasn’t unreasonable for Riches to go public contradicting Gilmore’s first version of events. Like he said, he was just defending his own name, standing up for the truth, or whatever.
But making an accusation, waiting for the denial and then leaking proof of your accusation isn’t standard ‘standing up for the truth’ behavior. It’s a political communications strategy. It’s what you do when you want to destroy someone’s credibility and career.
Which is not to express sympathy for Gilmore who could have avoided all this with a simple and heartfelt apology. I think he should resign – for his own good, as much as anything else: he doesn’t look like he’s coping very well. But the guy has been played.
(I don’t think this is all a National Party trick to distract the public from the GCSB or Mighty River Power: if Gilmore splits from his party and stays in Parliament as an independent and John Banks is convicted in court, the Nats could lose their majority.)