The scandal that wasn’t

I promised to write about one of the great NZ scandals that wasn’t.

Around 20 years ago Wellington was awash with rumours about David Lange’s affair with an Indian woman who was a TV presenter. I had thought that these rumours had lost their currency when it emerged that David Lange had been having an affair during this period — only with Margaret Pope. But recently a knowing reference was made on a right-wing blog to Lange slipping out during the night for “Indian takeaways”…

As it happened my girlfriend at the time flatted with the woman, who I’ll call M. (I won’t use her name as I don’t want this post coming up should someone google her name.) As a result, I probably spent more nights at M’s place than at my own, and not a few days there.

There is absolutely no way that David Lange could have conducted an affair with M without my girlfriend or me knowing. He din’t even know M, except as a public figure. Nonetheless, some of the rumours had him going to M’s letterbox to get the newspaper in the morning, or putting out the rubbish. (Neither of which I recall doing myself, I might add.)

Laughable. The funniest outcome came a few years later when M and I met on the steps of Parliament one weekday during her visit home to NZ. Even before M’s return rumours were circulating that M had borne Lange’s love child in London and was bringing it back to NZ. (M never had anybody’s child in London — I stayed with her there once.)

A mutual friend who was with us had a baby in a pushchair. Suddenly, M said, “Mind if I borrow [H] for a moment?”, and did a couple of spins back and forth before Parliament. There was a hush over the crowd that was eating lunch in the sunshine, and a lot of eyes glued to the pushchair.

By that stage M had given up trying to correct the rumours, and could see the funny side, I guess.

The moral of this story is that you can’t believe every rumour you hear about politicians and their spouses, no matter how close the sourse to the seat of power.

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3 Responses to “The scandal that wasn’t”

  1. Truthseeker Says:

    A smeer is a smeer is a smeer…….

    When I was national secretary of the Electoral Reform Coalition (89-90), someone was delivering leaflets in Christchurch naming me as a member of the Socialist Unity Party and a life time Communist. I was neither – before then or since.

    Some people will tell any lie. They have no scruples. They are usually on the Right. Not always….but your odds are better than a coin toss that they are.

  2. MacDoctor Says:

    Don’t you just love the incestuous relationship between politicians and journalists? If it wasn’t for them we’d have to watch Shortland Street for entertainment… 😦

    It’s not quite that bad, MacDoc. Went to see “Lorna’s Silence” at the film festival Thursday night and recommend highly. It was a bleak story with an ambiguous ending, but provided welcome relief from NZ politics…

  3. Inventory2 Says:

    Truthseeker – I’m glad you qualified your statement about the source of smears and rumours. I would venture to speculate that the spilt is somewhat closer to 50/50 than you suggest.

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