A group of former schoolteachers has responded to allegations in Parliament by the deputy leader of the Act Party Mr Roderick White that Labour spokesperson for civic politeness Mr Phil Ryan had beaten him mercilessly when he had been a student in Mr Ryan’s woodwork class in 1964.
The spokesman for the former teachers at Routebourne High in Otago, Mr David Manners, said they were hardly surprised Mr White had been punished while in 3D Commercial.
“The boy was a snivelling little tattle-tale, a shit of a kid who would regularly run to teachers with made-up stories about other students. He would make allegations and then when it came time to go to the principal to discuss them he would always chicken out or say one of the bigger boys had made him do it.
“I thrashed him a few times myself, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In fact I think White probably deserved everything he got, little bastard that he was.”
Mr Ryan (List, Westharbour) said last night he had not remembered Mr White from his class 41 years ago, but recently when shown a class photograph from the period he identified White immediately as, “that little prick, the tubby boy who used to whine if he wasn’t made milk monitor. I had no idea Blubberbum White was the same person as the honourable member”.
Mr White has denied that the allegations he has made are politically motivated but are instead driven by the need for historical complaints to be addressed.
“We regularly see citizens seek redress for historical wrongs, and in this I am no different from any other decent, long-suffering, tax-paying New Zealander. The fact I have made this statement at this time during preparations for an election is coincidental.
“I have known the honourable member as a hard-working and fair-minded politician for almost 30 years but it was only last month I recognised him as Straphappy Phil, as we used to call him at school.
“He strapped a friend of mine David Lewis, now a lawyer, family man, and a well-known bankrupt. I was having a port at his club a few weeks ago and we were laughing about school days -- David used to piss over the urinal wall and onto the boys in the playground, still does actually -- when he mentioned that MP Phil Ryan was the same person as the one who slapped me with a wet bus pass one day then poked me with a ruler another time when I was talking during detention.
“He also caned me twice. I can‘t remember what for but it really hurt, and my mum went to the deputy principal to complain about it.”
Mr White concedes that at the time such actions by teachers were not uncommon but noted that while he may not have suffered any long-term emotional damage that did not mean others hadn’t.
“The fundamental point here which the media is missing entirely is that I am speaking up for the voiceless, those good hard-working tax-paying New Zealanders who have suffered at the hands of school teachers over the generations. If any political mileage comes out of it that is a mere, but fortunate, coincidence.”
The group of former Routebourne High teachers however has reacted angrily to the allegations and has issued a statement asking that Mr White’s character as a student be included in the investigation by the commission of enquiry the Prime Minister has called for.
“Let’s face it, “ said Mr Manners last night, “Roderick White was one of those pasty-faced kids who was incredibly unpopular and used to hide in the library at lunchtimes because other boys would throw tennis balls and their sandwiches at him.
“He was an utterly self-serving, disingenuous turd at school, but I refuse to be drawn to comment on whether he is the same today. I leave that for the commission of enquiry and the court of public opinion to conclude.
“I just remember him as the only boy in school the choir master refused to bugger. He really was that much of a shit.”