Who do you believe?
- The people who complained to the Labour Party including the woman whose harrowing experience alleging sexual abuse Alex Casey chronicled at the Spinnoff?
- Labour Party President Nigel Haworth who said he acted professionally?
- Labour leader and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who said she didn’t know there had been allegations of sexual assault even though they have been aired in the media for weeks?
Heather du Plessis-Allan says we must question the PM’s honesty:
. . .She told media yesterday: ”I was informed in the very beginning that the allegations made were not sexual.”
She told RNZ this morning that she found out yesterday.
“The first I’ve seen the complaints of that nature was when I read then.” Asked when that was, she said “When I saw them in the Spinoff.”
That is very hard to believe. This has been reported in the media for the last five weeks.
If you believe that yesterday was the first the Prime Minister heard of this, then you must believe that the Prime Minister of this country does not watch, read or listen to the news reported in this country.
That she for the last five weeks has missed every bulletin, newspaper and programme that mentioned the fact this guy is alleged to have committed a sexual crime. . .
And also believe she doesn’t have staff who monitor the media and make sure she knows what she needs to know.
. . . You have to also believe that the Prime Minister didn’t ask what allegation was so serious that a staffer in her office stopped coming to work five weeks ago.
You also have to square it with this comment she made yesterday in her press conference”:
“A month ago I visited New Zealand [Labour Party] Council. Very seriously shared my view that they were not the appropriate place to undertake inquiries around concerning behaviour of members of the Labour Party. But particularly they are not the appropriate place to ever undertake an investigation into a sexual assault. And that would be their view too.”
Why would she say to the Labour Party council that they were not the right people to investigate an alleged sex crime, if she didn’t know the allegations were of a sex crime?
Because she did. She did know.
On the 6th of August, one day after the story broke in the media, Mike Hosking raised it with her right here on this station.
He asked her: “How many people have quit your party as a result of this investigation into this bloke who may or may not have sexual assaulted someone?”
Her response was: “I’m going to be very careful answering that question Mike because this is an inquiry and work is still underway and it is still a party matter.”
Exactly when the Prime Minister knew is important for a bunch of reasons.
Did she fail in her duty of care to staffers and volunteers? Was this supposed to be covered up? But mostly it’s important because this is now about her integrity
It’s becoming increasingly hard to believe her version of events, and possibly this is the first time that we’ve had reason to question Jacinda Ardern’s honesty.
It’s not just about her integrity, It’s about trust.
It’s about the trust the people making serious allegations, and they are still allegations, put in the Labour Party to deal with them properly, and that their trust was abused.
It’s about the trust we ought to be able to have that when questioned about serious matters the PM would tell the truth.
And because, if she genuinely believes she didn’t know, it’s about trust in her and her office’s competence.
Because if neither she nor her staff keep up with the media reports on serious matters, what else aren’t they doing?
In which case it’s also about the trust that we all should have in our Prime Minister, whether we like her or not, whether we voted for her or not, whether we support her or not, to do her job and to deal with serious issues properly.