Staffer at centre of the Labour Party abuse allegations resigns

Remigio Civitarese
Сентября 12, 2019

In the most serious scandal Prime Minister Ardern has faced since she took office in late 2017, the leader admitted "mistakes were made" after a Labour Party volunteer accused a senior party staffer of assault a year ago.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologised yesterday for her party's handling of an alleged sexual assault, as a top ally was forced to resign.

"I have enjoyed my time working in Parliament, but today have made the very hard decision to resign because of the stress of the situation, and my wish not to be a distraction to the work of the government", the staffer said in a statement.

"I adamantly refute the serious allegations made against me".

This is the first public statement but the staffer, who was the subject of an internal investigation from the Labour Party earlier this year following seven formal complaints about his behaviour.

It comes after details of an alleged sexual assault, claimed to have happen in February previous year, surfaced in the media this week.

She said she was told by the party that "no complainant had come to them and claimed to them they'd been sexually assaulted". Three months later, the staffer was cleared.

This morning she reiterated that Monday was the first time she had seen evidence a complaint of a serious sexual assault had been taken to the party.

"We've heard from the prime minister this week about what she said, about the fact that at every stage of this process, whenever concerns have been raised, they've been referred to the party to ensure that they were being acted on appropriately - that is the same experience for me".

The Labour Party president yesterday resigned over the handling of the investigation.

The man has been working away from Parliament's precinct for the past five weeks.

In a separate statement, Labour said that Mr Haworth - who has been credited as an unsung hero of Ms Ardern's electoral victory - had resigned.

Ardern would not say whether anyone else's job was on the line, saying she would wait for the review of the process and the complaints from Dew.

Ms Ardern said she discussed the woman's documents with Mr Haworth, as she tried to address the scandal."Whilst he stands by the statements he made on this matter, I believe mistakes were made", she said.

Yesterday she saw emails that confirmed in her mind that harm had been caused to the complainants through the process, she said.

A complaint had been laid with Parliamentary Service, but it was not related to the staffer's employment.

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