Peter Dunne asks some hard questions about the allegations of sexual misconduct within the Labour Party - and what the Prime Minister knew or should have known

Peter Dunne asks some hard questions about the allegations of sexual misconduct within the Labour Party - and what the Prime Minister knew or should have known

By Peter Dunne*

The resignation of the President of the Labour Party over the sex pest allegations was inevitable. It was inevitable because of his appalling handling of the situation so far; and, because in situations like this where there has to be a “fall guy” it was better the President take the fall to protect the Prime Minister.

But, in reality, it changes nothing. The Prime Minister’s claim that it was only earlier this week that she became aware that the senior staff member suspended some weeks ago from working in her office was facing allegations of sexual misconduct raises serious questions of itself, regardless of the President’s resignation.

This whole saga has been handled appallingly by the Labour hierarchy since the Youth Camp stories emerged last year, only to be followed by the allegations surrounding the person working in the Prime Minister’s own office. The original instinct seems to have been to deal with the whole set of matters “in house”, ostensibly to prevent further embarrassment and upset for those involved, and clearly to minimise damage to the Labour Party. All of which is perfectly understandable, and arguably defensible so long as the complaints of the young people concerned were listened to, and acted upon in a robust, fair and balanced process.

But here is where the problems for the Labour Party and now the Prime Minister began. There is no need to rehearse the individual allegations here – they have been increasingly well-aired in the general media – but the consequence of the muddled, confused and ramshackle way of dealing with them has left the individual complainants feeling further insulted and angry, and the credibility of Labour’s leaders  shattered. And now, the Labour Party increasingly appears, for whatever reason, to have resorted to an almighty cover-up, which it is now trying to keep out of the public eye. But, as the Watergate example so dramatically shows, it was not the original offence, nor even the cover-up of that, but the cover-up of the cover-up that ultimately brought down the President. 

The Labour Party likes to describe itself as one big family. Allegiances and friendships within the Party, and the connections that arise from them certainly run far deeper in the Labour Party than in most other political parties. Indeed, that common bond and sense of “we’re all in this together” have undoubtedly sustained the Party in some of its darker moments in the past. That, and the internal Party gossip it breeds, are generally positive features. Indeed, the informal camaraderie so engendered where everybody seems to know everybody else’s business is one of the things I look back on nostalgically as I reflect on my own previous more than twenty years’ membership of the Party. It truly is one big family.

All of which creates a real problem. The chronology shows that allegations of misbehaviour by the now suspended staff member were made to senior Labour Party officials in late 2018.  Following further allegations of sexual misconduct, a subcommittee of Labour’s New Zealand Council, the Party’s ruling body, convened in March this year to consider those. Its findings were considered by the full Council in June. Some time after that, the staff member was suspended from the Prime Minister’s office, and required to work from home.

Now, the Prime Minister is an ex-officio member of the New Zealand Council, and while she would not be expected (or indeed able) to attend all of its meetings, she could reasonably expect to be briefed by the President (and the Caucus representative, usually the Caucus Secretary) and other members on what took place at meetings she was not present at.  It would surely have been impossible to discuss these matters at the New Zealand Council without any reference to the sexual misconduct allegations, nor would it have made it any sense to do so. After all, that was what the subcommittee had been established to consider.

With a matter of this magnitude on their plates, it is simply inconceivable that the Prime Minister was not briefed about this time as to what was going on. Further, it is hard to believe that the Party President, the more than 20 individual members of the Council, and the Caucus representative were all unaware of the allegations against the Prime Minister’s staff member or resolved to keep her in the dark on what they actually knew. And then, having received the subcommittee’s report, and given Labour’s notorious propensity for gossip, that none of them sought even informally to tip off the Prime Minister. What did her close friend and confidante Grant Robertson know, and did he pass any message, however oblique, to the Prime Minister? Also, consider Speaker Trevor Mallard, who was only too keen to get involved in the Jamie-Lee Ross scandal to embarrass the National Party, and is a well-known sponge for political gossip. He seems so keen to protect the Prime Minister in the House, it is hard to believe he was in the dark on this issue involving a member of the Parliamentary staff, and did not pass on what he knew.  

It is possible, but unlikely, that the Prime Minister was quite unaware what was going on. But interestingly, she  now says she attended the August New Zealand Council meeting to express her complete dissatisfaction at the handling of events. Moreover, she made comment to the media about that time hoping the Party had learnt from the Summer Camp scandal, implying by linking the two that she was well aware of the sexual connotations. 

And even if the New Zealand Council Members all maintained a remarkable silence throughout, it is hard to see how the matter was not discussed at the subsequent weekly meetings before Caucus between the Prime Minister and her President, especially once the person had been suspended from duty. Is it credible, given the Prime Minister’s earlier comments, and the mounting media interest to accept that the matter was not discussed by anyone, anywhere in the Labour Party at all? Was the Party President, a respected academic in his own right, that removed from reality not to have raised the specific information we now know he possessed with the Prime Minister? And how is it that the Prime Minister can say that it was only five weeks after the senior staff member’s suspension that she became aware there were sexual misconduct allegations involved? Presumably there were other serious reasons that led her to agree in the first place to the suspension of a valued senior staff member?

In short, none of this rings true. Either the Prime Minister has known the full picture for some time but, out of a weird sense of misguided loyalty to her staff member, has attempted to keep the matter within the Party rather than have it referred to the Police, where the whole story might come out. Or, everyone around her has deliberately conspired to keep her out of the loop so that the less she knows the better, which betrays a shocking lack of trust and confidence in her by those closest to her that all of us should be concerned about.

Whatever explanation holds water, this is the end of her Golden Weather as Prime Minister.


*Peter Dunne is the former leader of UnitedFuture, an ex-Labour Party MP, and a former cabinet minister. This article first ran here and is used with permission.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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This is not GoT and she's no Danny Stormborn, but I expect some foolhardy people are going to find out that dragons are real.

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She used to be indecisive. Now she's just not so sure!

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When she gets into trouble she needs to say she can't remember.
That worked very well for the last elected PM.

Don't agree with the author. Ardern is looking increasingly capable of doing the right thing to manage media interest - and the Opposition to make political capital over it.

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Really? Wow.

Do they mail out the script to you guys, or does it come by email?

I'm a Chardonnay socialist who did really well out of Keys Auckland property bubble policies.

And now waiting for Jacinda to miss manage what's comming to buy low sell high??
Me to but torn between 'do the right thing' & $'s..

No PM has a responsibility to make any things mindlessly harder for themselves. She saw the sexual nature of the complaints for the first time this week. Haworth has resigned. QC on the case. All Blacks vs Springboxs.

"She saw the sexual nature of the complaints for the first time this week. "

hahahahahahaha

You'll believe anything so long as it has red letterhead.

I'm very curious to hear what actually went on in all this. Reading the Spinoff's timeline I've been left wondering whether it was a combination of incompetence in the process or deliberate ignoring of certain complaints during the process. But I cannot figure off why if it was deliberate rather than incompetence, why those involved in the investigation would have assumed that ignoring some complaints and handling others would have had a viable outcome.

Couple of weeks ago Paula Bennett was the one saying the allegations weren't sexual. Now everything's completely different.

No she dosent mean to make things harder at all but mamages to 9/10 timrs
Another day, another nail.

It's looking much better than the Jami lee saga. National 1 and 2 sat on his behavior for 9-10 years! That's a Whopper.

Old news, the spotlight is on the current leaders last game.
Labour is all about the small guy which they failed to look after this time, paired uo with nabad leadership in troubled times.

Those on the left when they’ve lost the argument always bring out the old “but National did this but John Key ponytail puller”.

Almost like they somehow justify a Labour incident by comparing it to something a National MP did years ago.

Not what most people are seeing Tim. Far from it. The stock market mirrored that senimant with a 2% decline yesterday and starting with a decline this morning.

Sad people got victimized, but it's pretty low brow stuff. They'll need more than the pot calling the kettle black.

Jami lee Ross at 2020 election.... Watch that space. He'll have plenty of room to shake it up.

This might be news to you but this actually has very little to do with JLR or the Nats at all; other than then being the only avenue for people to correct the record when lies and spin overlap.

Here and now, things we cam do something about.

Look! Squirrel!

Heck. Wouldn't that be a shambled..
Jacinda, NZF & Greens after a shambles of a term look like they will not get back in again.
Then JLR coems out of the woodwork...

You are looking forward to a govt led by the obsequious Simon Bridges and a party that was happy for him to go butt licking for all he is worth to the world's largest totalitarian govt? Gee.

Tsk,Tisk and Tisk again

Jami lee is toast

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It's a textbook cover up. Now that they've been caught out the first scape goat has been thrown under the bus. However the Prime Minister is trying to keep up the appearance of plausible deniability. I do not find it plausible that should wouldn't have known. That would suggest that the Prime Minister's Office was keeping secrets from the PM (highly unlikely). So the PM will need to throw more people under the bus to maintain plausible deniability, which will result in more victims of the Labour Party.

It's almost enough to make people vote for National, if they weren't led by a Chinese spy.

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We can speculate in an uninformed manner about the subject all we want, but one thing is clear, either she was kept in the dark, or she is incapable to keeping up with the things that are going on around her - that’s not what is expected from any competent leader i.e. either way its scary. PM is a massively difficult job that few are cut out for - its more than being. frontman/woman, even if you have very competent people supporting you, which clearly this PM doesn’t

Suspect an element of John Key with Mike Sabin. All the protestations were that senior staff had been told but John Key had not.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11395792

Early Election ?

It's the only chance they have of winning.
Another day, another nail.
The only bad news yesterday was the Labour screw up and a 2% decline in the stock market. Total lack of faith going on, maybe an election...
How long till Winston starts distancing NZF from Labour / Greens screw ups?

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The use of the phrase 'mistakes were made' is the giveaway here. I don't generally reference Wikipedia as large parts of it are maintained by tribal zealots who brook no examination of the 'other side'. But in this case, the quote seems to have a useful explanation.

The New York Times has called the phrase a "classic Washington linguistic construct." Political scientist William Schneider suggested that this usage be referred to as the "past exonerative" tense, and commentator William Safire has defined the phrase as "[a] passive-evasive way of acknowledging error while distancing the speaker from responsibility for it". A commentator at NPR declared this expression to be "the king of non-apologies".

Agree with PD that the stardust has evaporated, and something more earthy is now the predominant colouring.

Well Safire is good enough for me. It was always difficult to understand how a pretty novice of a young woman managed to topple, at short notice, a set and complacent National government. One angle of that is that the negative National was attracting was greater than the poistive Labour was attracting. That made JA something of a golden girl, figuratively speaking. Alas all that glitters is not gold especially as it begins to wear. In truth JA seems to me to be both a sincere and well intended person, and naturally so. A hard plated long haul omnipotent HC she definitely isn’t. Wouldn’t surprise if she worked out family and lifestyle are a nicer and more rewarding priority. If she was to quit for that reason, who could possibly blame her.

Well Key said he did

Going to take more than a frown and a turn of the head away from the media to stop this in its tracks ,thats for sure.
Who,what,when,where and why,sounds like a song coming on.

Nothing like a bit of salacious garbage to toss a bone to eager media, who do not care much for policy making or even asking Ministers questions on work of their departments (at least we do not hear much of this on News.)
In addition, it is HIGH time that we had a working definition of a few phrases now being bandied about and used interchangeably in media, meaning that identifying DEGREE of seriousness is almost impossible. For instance: criteria for: sexual "assault"; sexual "harassment" ; sexual "misconduct." Also: neglect, v abuse and criteria for removing children from their parents.

A fair point, but I think the issue relates strongly to the overall competence and credibility of the government and how they operate.

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The incompetence of this government is really coming out in the wash now.

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If this has been a male PM, they'd be gone.

This has been a seriously under-whelming regime, seemingly incapable of any execution or common sense. It's only Jacinda's "wokeness" keeping things afloat.

Imagine it was Brian Tamaki.

Yeah, or anyone brown for that matter

Imagin the out cry if it was an AB captian pushing a sex scandle under the table on the back of a string of lost games...

If this has been a male PM, they'd be gone.

100% proven wrong by the last government: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11395792

You'll need to do better than that sorry.

You'll need to be realistic about these issues.

Sabin did resign.

This is all from your link:
Little alerted Key's office Nov 28th. Key said he found out himself Dec 1 and not from Little. They were arguing about a few days!

Sabin resigned Feb 3. Take xmas break into consideration and him hoping it would blow over. It seems fairly reasonable.

Hardly the extended timeline of utter b.s. that we are seeing here.

How quickly folk forget, eh. Here's a further link to help out.

The whole issue around this was the that it appeared National knew of the allegations before the election (source: ) but kept things quiet to avoid a kerfuffle prior to the election. If your memory will come to the party, this was also according to Northlanders why National was given a kick in the face and the people of Northland elected Winston Peters out of sheer outrage at National's behaviour.

Reckon we're likely seeing the same approach of isolating the leader from bad news with Labour as we saw with National. A desire for deniability or not knowing when asked by media.

No link in your message, but great memory. Unfortunately a great memory doesn't mean your argument is logical.
I agree it is a similar approach and they are trying to insulate the leader.

However clearly this situation is different, and isolating the leader is a really poor approach to take here. Just because the left wing bloggers think it is related, does not make it so.

All I am hearing is you excusing an incompetent investigation into sexual assaults and the blatant "I know nothing" and "No comment" lying by blaming the last govt is ridiculous.

"Labour, just as corrupt as the last lot" is your message. Inspirational.

Whoops, here's the link: https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/national-knew-sabin-abuse-allegations-jb-p...

You may be right - the situation is different. If it's an incompetent investigation (which it looks to be) that would be preferable to cynical cover up to avoid it coming out prior to an election.

If you'll trouble yourself to read up a few comments you will see that quite differently, this was pointing out the error of the assertion "If this has been a male PM, they'd be gone." Clearly incorrect.

Hope that helps keep things clear.

No one is attempting to blame the last government for this poor handling of an issue. That's making crap up and forgetting to read the surrounding comments for context.

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Agree that it is not believable that all senior Labor minsiters (at least) would not have been briefed as soon as existence of such a potentially damaging issue came to light - they would have needed to figure out how to respond should the media get wind of it. Mallard was discussing bullying rapist in May, four months back and there was huge turn-over in Ardern office last year almost certainly as a result of this person and what he had done - Ardern would have been told of the problem. In short they all knew, and have known for a long long time. So why are they trying to sell this lie? Surely better to front-foot-it. Not Ardern's fault that one of her staff is a pig, and no body would be angry at her if she had dealt with properly when the issue came to light. That is the damning part to this story - and indictment of Ardern's leadership - how they have tried to cover it all up.

This is just what they want. An issue affecting one or two only enabling politicians and MSM to ignore the real stuff. Why are we wasting anytime at all on this rubbish..... immigration, housing, enviro... pick your cause that matters.

to be fair.. it is a bit more serious than pulling someone's ponytail.

A lot more

To be fair, I don't think MSM are ignoring the issues. The Herald has a front pager on the startling ,almost unbelievable crisis that is homelessness in NZ.
I think this farce is very relevant to the wider policy context, because it suggests, as the Kiwibuild joke did, that this government is disorganised and incompetent.
And that really raises questions around their ability to govern, more broadly.
Note - I'm not happy about this. I voted Labour, and wanted them to succeed. But I am not partisan, and believe in holding government, whatever colour, to account.
If there was an election tomorrow, I'd find it very hard to vote Labour, as I feel betrayed. But I wouldn't vote for the Nats, as they are right now, either. I quite possibly wouldn't vote.
I'm sick of them all.

The only time National have let up on the gotcha politics was after March 15, but that's over now with Bridges pandering to people who don't want anything done to prevent something like this happening again as those people are more likely to vote for him, that Labour is spending as much time fending them off as trying to get on with the business, very, very difficult business, of unraveling some of the harms that have accumulated since the days of Douglas and the last govt.

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Why are the police not involved?

From what I understand there are 12 separate accusations of sexual assault. That's a crime. Its not a little misdemeanour the party can choose whether it breached their own code of conduct. As lawmakers they are expected to uphold the law.

Appointing a QC to investigate? Huh?. .. Ardern.. try the police. They are equipped to deal with laws being broken.

andby
"Why are the police not involved?"
This is clearly showing that you have absolutely no understanding of the situation.
It is common that a victim of sexual assault to be severely affected, extremely embarrassed and reluctant to speak out and often unwilling to involve the police. In this situation, the victim only raised the issue (which predated the Waihi Camp incident) and only felt confident to raise the issue following an assurance from Labour - and especially Jacinda - to come forward.
On this assurance the victim did do this but due to Labour's inept handling of the situation/desire to bury it, she would have most likely felt even further discouraged either to go to or involve the Police. Dialogue from the committee and the Labour hierarchy with the victim ceased after she presented her account.
As she was seemingly unwilling to go to or involve the police, the correct procedure would have been to first seek support for the victim which Labour did not do. It would only be when she felt supported and comfortable should the police been involved. Labour did not do this - in fact they seem to have done the exact opposite quite possibly in an attempt to bury it. For Labour to immediately involve the police could have had just as serious consequences for the victim as the inept way in which it was handled.

Why are the police not involved? Well Mr. Dunne only refers to a 'sex pest'. Whatever that is.

Sort of word enablers use when trying to downplay the seriousness of the situation. A kick in the guts for the victim.

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Ardern needs to ask Robertson and her senior advisers who have been named as being informed of the nature of the assaults what they knew. If indeed they did know and chose to keep her in the dark then she cannot possibly have any confidence in keeping them on.

If she is not asking them that exact question right now and it turns out they knew all along then she needs to go as well.

You are either part of the cover up or not. It's that simple.

She's part of it. We're all bending over backwards to find a scenario where she didn't know - and it just doesn't add up.

She's either part of a coverup or she's dangerously incompetent. Either way she should resign.

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There is growing body of evidence that she is the worst prime minister in NZ's history, and I don't say that either lightly or as a National voter.

One term wonder.

Maybe.... but don’t underestimate the ill feeling towards national by the asset-less classes. A group which is growing.

That's a group that could be swayed.

But maybe not folk who would choose to sacrifice their own chances of home ownership by electing Beijing Bridges and National.

As is the asset-rich, potentially at a faster rate.

They have to protect Ardern and Robertson at all costs - they are their star performers. Ardern is the friendly face and Robertson seemingly the most competent

Robertson the most competent? You have to be kidding.

Most competent, that doesn't make him particularly competent. It's not that hard when your competition is Arden, Davis and Twyford.

Would have thought Faafoi or Parker would be well ahead of Robertson.

Anyone can see he's the real 2nd in command in labour. I have no great love for him, but he does seem to make less screw ups than his comrades and is a steady performer in the house.

Robertson and other Senior advisers too busy covering their own AR-- on other problems

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What is most amazing is the guy still is seemingly employed by the PM. The PM has been officially aware of allegations about a prolonged and violent sexual assault since Monday and it is now Thursday. How can the guy still be working for her? Why has she not dismissed him?

He has apparently been working from home for at least 5 weeks, Though Ardern claims to not be aware of the reason. That may be just cover for gardening leave.

Do we know for sure it's a 'he"?

Paula Bennett said she saw 'him' around parliament so must be?

Good question

Rumours circulating on twitter and reports from radio: The ogre in question is a friend of Ardern and Robinson. Was hired into the PM's office *AFTER* the allegations were made. Has been paid $50k to go away in addition to 5 weeks leave leading up to this.
https://mobile.twitter.com/hamishpricenz/status/1172043482917064706

I have no real idea of the truth here, but I have seen similar things in a number of organisations I have worked. Every layer of management or structure below the big chair is effectively a filter, and many people in those layers, mistakenly in my opinion, elect not inform their leadership of shady goings-on out of loyalty. I think this is based on a principle of 'plausible deniability', and indeed some organisational leaders want this. But I think it just makes them look incompetent, because they don't know what is going on. Transparency and integrity means that even the not nice stuff must be fed to the top, if only to ensure the bosses do know, but primarily to ensure that they are being handled appropriately. This is the basis of 'no surprises' policies. On occasion it is also done from a basis of avoiding negative publicity. But handled properly and transparently

However it is also my experience that many managers over react negatively to early notifications, interfering and driving proper process off the rails. Partly this is out of a lack of trust, but managers need to understand that due process is about natural justice and transparency, so communication, and restraint are also parts of a transparency picture.

Stuff News... most articals about the Labour party / Jacinda do not allow comments now.
That in itself speaks volumes of this countries view of Labour and Jacinda.

I've always found Stuff to be telling on which they articles they do and don't allow comments.

Often when the comments go against an editorial tone, they are shut down very quickly. Interest seem quite happy for us to argue among ourselves and make ourselves look like idiots :)

Yes, strong endorsement for Interest, and I totally agree. But that is what democracy is about open and frank debate on the issues. Not everyone can handle being challenged on their opinions though, and it can be humbling when told you are wrong, but the joy is in learning. I believe any country is stronger for the debate.

You can't read that into the countries view, you have to look at that as purely STUFF policy.

They have the same policy on climate, well they accept anything as long as it agrees with them.

Stuff is a Left aligned outlet with no understanding of free speech, ALL credit to interest.co.nz not curtailing to PC policy and allowing free comments.

I DO NOT read Stuff anymore as it seems ALL opinion pieces and no investigated reporting !

I have a peek to get an idea of what is being pushed under the carper and what is not.

I thought Shane Jones came across both shockingly poorly and out of touch on Breakfast this morning.
His comment were along the lines:
- "I don't know anything"; What? the current central issue and he knows nothing, and
- "There is only one place for this to be dealt with and this is with the police". It is correct that sexual assault is a serious and criminal matter, however as the complainant has stated, she does not have the confidence to go to the police - a very common situation for those in that position to feel. That does not mean that neither a political party or an employer abdicates their responsibilities as is Shane Jones' view - it demonstrates that Jones is both a dinosaur and widely out of touch.
New Zealand First should be seriously alarmed that Shane Jones is demonstrating that their leadership has neither a culture, nor an understanding, nor a clearly understood policy on handling a similar situation.
Shane Jones and New Zealand first should be extremely relieved that it wasn't one of their employees and party volunteers - which it could have just as easily been and his comments indicate that they would be in the same situation - and that there is urgent need to both learn and change both their own culture and policies and procedures.

.

Why are you going after NZF when Labour is worse and the scandal actually involves them?

Everyone knows Shane Jones is a trougher - left and right.

Rollingon
Shane Jones made the comment - not Labour.

I find it all very odd. If a person has been accused of committing a crime of a sexual nature, then the only place to go with the information of that crime is the Police. It is our reluctance as a society to report such crimes that enables our high rates of sexual and family violence to continue. The best advice and support one can give to a victim of such a crime is to encourage them to report it and then accompany/support them throughout the whole process. Just because a crime is committed in a workplace is no excuse for failure to report it.

I'd have thought surely if the alleged act meets the threshold of a potential crime, no QC would touch the investigation - rather they would immediately refer the matter to the Police to investigate.

She probable still got my vote ! The other fella on the opposite side.. Yeah Nah, I am not so sure about him.. he's a bit shifty!

what a choice, another smile and wave or someones thats been brought and has to return to the home country to report to his superiors

It used to amaze, now it just saddens, the excuses people make for sexual predators to protect their organisation/business/school/good name/prestige...
This sort of cult like protection of the tribe allows predators to thrive.

Labour has a history of trying to cover up serious sexual allegations. Usually it's their MPs.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4809631/MP-Darren-Hughes-resign...

Or Todd Barclay

As I said - it is amazing what lame excuses come up to protect the tribe at the expense if the victims.

Labour have awful form: Darren Hughes incident 2011, naked 18year old Laborite fled Darren Hughe's home and complained to police. Hughes was whisked out of country to an offshore job. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4798214/Police-investigate-Labo... A couple more sex assaults at summer camps in years past (not 2018). https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/102242327/victim-tells-labour-.... Current case 12 victims , one was hospitalised and some were asked if they would have sex for money or promotions . By August 6 there had already been 4 resignations over complaints about rape culture within labour.
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/politics/labour-members-quit-over-investigati...

So according to Barry Soper - someone said they were raped, and someone was hospitalised but all the complainants want is the Party to be held to account? For goodness sake, it's a Police matter! Sheesh.

"They talked about not just sexual assault but rape, they said that this person worked in the Beehive for two years, he was offering promotions for sex. They said there was a huge power imbalance, they said the person was well known to Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson.

"They said one victim was hospitalised, two were still working at Parliament, six others were junior party members and there were 12 victims in all."

Soper said the complainants just want the party to be held to account.

It's an employment matter if you are being sexually harassed and assaulted in the workplace by a workmate (the rape accusation was when working at the accused's home). And these people work for Labour as party staffers. Who else should be held to account? Also, would you and other's in the Labour tribe be making these same deflections if it were National? Be honest. Note how silent the Greens have been. No parliamentary walks outs staged as happened a couple of years back over pony tails. Total F*****g Hypocrites.

These are criminal matters - the perpetrator if found guilty by way of judicial process should be held to account. From what was reported on the news was the original investigation was based on workplace bullying. Rape is a far cry from bullying. This is a Police as opposed to an employment matter.

Where is Worksafe on this? This worksite should have been shut down by now. Far too many serious harm incidents and a non functioning safety system.

I agree with regard to the rape accusation, and the other reported physical violence. These should be with the police. But it seems that the 12 complainants know how the world works sufficiently that they don't see any positive outcome coming from taking it to the police, they know that it will likely also end their political career aspirations to be seen to be harming the Labour brand. So they did the most sensible thing and turned to the Labour party hierarchy for help. Guess they and we have all learned a good lesson from this outcome.

Talk about a rock and a hard place. In the place of the person the complaint was first brought to, I think the wisest thing I could have done was recommend a complaint to the police, and given the woman was unwilling or reluctant to do that, then I think I would have to have pointed her in the direction of some other help or support.
You cannot play judge and jury unless you are the judge and the jury and the workplace cannot be that beyond trying to make sure any whiff of this sort of culture be cauterized.
I doubt they would have any grounds to fire the guy in question, in fact, I doubt there was much they could really do at all without a complaint to the police.
It has definitely not been handled well, but you cannot accuse someone without being prepared to have that tested, no matter what the alleged crime might be.

Yes, agree. Latest article states the alleged assault occurred in a private residence. Employers can't be responsible for investigating matters outside the workplace. It needs a complaint to the Police. Someone above mentioned the Darren Hughes incident of some years ago and although he resigned from Parliament, there was never any complaint made to the Police - instead the Police noted a complaint had been raised with a number of media outlets. Pretty much the same thing happened to Jamie-Lee Ross - no Police complaints laid there - just accusations laid with the media.

Oh thank goodness for at least two commentators with commonsense on this issue. The alleged “offender” has now resigned, note, not been terminated. Unless there was something in his employment contract concerning sexual assault being serious misconduct which as alleged in this case occurred not in the workplace but in his home, then the misdemeanour would be that he “brought his employer into disrepute”, which on the face of it, has certainly happened. Employment law demands a fair and reasonable process and trust and confidence by both parties and in that regard requires an investigation between employee and employer.

There are serious charges being alleged by the victim(s). I understand the reluctance by her to go to the police, but it has now turned into an unfair “trial” by media and political opponents kicking footballs around of (the politicians/Labour party hierarchy) he said, she said, which is exactly in my opinion what the deputy National Party leader wished to happen.

See my comment below. PM can fire her staff any time she wants. Special powers, not subject to normal employment law. She chose to back him and ignore the 12 accusers. The caring face of Ardern appears to be only for the public, quite another story if you are one of her minions.

I cannot believe that ANY political party, including one that has someone like Trump in it, aware of someone's awful sexual proclivities would retain them in their employ, even if they spun gold from straw. The most naïve of them would know that it would eventually make it into the public arena. I find this whole situation very odd indeed. I particularly find Ms Bennett's involvement odd, given her history.

No, PM can fire the guy any time she wants - she is not subject to normal employment law. But she chose not to. Pretty damning of her judgement: "The employment of a staff member can be terminated by the party leader, under “breakdown of relationship”. This doesn’t need an inquiry, a disciplinary process, a finding of misconduct. It just needs the party leader to decide they no longer have trust and confidence in the staffer."
https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2019/09/the_clause_jacinda_refuses_to_use.html

It would seem that the staffer invoked that rule himself. Read Clause 22.3 b) “The breakdown in the relationship can be brought to the attention of the General Manager by either the Parliamentary Party Leader or YOU. ...”. The media are reporting that he resigned not that he was terminated. He probably (and rightly so IMO) realised that his position was completely untenable and so resigned.

In a free democratic society there should always be two sides to any law. Otherwise even if it is in the highest office of the land, it would surely be a dictatorship.

Oh, and there are always two sides to every story!

Maybe the complainant was recommended to go to the Police and given direction for assistance/support but felt like they were being fobbed off?

Possibly so, but this is not a matter, if it is a crime that is alleged, that would be the only possible response, but was it a criminal assault or someone just trying to get a leg over (heaven forbid, and I am sure most will agree, that should ever become a crime)? This is really murky waters stuff, I am not sure being a sex pest in and of itself is a sackable offence (would depend where you did it, I guess), but obviously being a rapist is. But we still do not actually know what happened. It seems a bit odd that just a week or so ago Ms Bennett was claiming that rape (might even have been just "sexual" the word she used) wasn't involved, now she is? Huh? What's up with that?
I do not fully trust her involvement in this and I believe she would be perfectly happy to garnish the story to suit herself.

This just keeps giving.... now Kelvin Davis has said the whole thing is based on 'kohimuhimu'. When challenged that they are more than just rumours he said it also means 'allegations' and then proceeded to tell reporters he is not going to give them a language lesson.

According to the maori dictionary, Kohimuhimu means "Whisper, gossip, or rumour".

No language lesson necessary.. just perhaps an explanation as to why you are using others lack of te reo to hide behind your appalling comment.

Another one trying to tell someone fluent in Maori what they meant.

If Davis thinks it also means 'allegations' then he clearly aint fluent in maori or has made a mistake. Own that... don't condescendingly say to reporters he aint going to give them a language lesson.