So those unhappy with the manner in which Labour have handled the latest accusations of a staffer who has been either inappropriate or a functioning rapist, (depending on who is whispering the gossip), are starting to leak to Paula Bennett.
That’s about as bad a meltdown as you are going to see.
It highlights the incredibly poor Executive oversight of this Government who are supposed to foresee such events and cauterise them to minimise the political damage.
Jacinda is an incredibly decent person. I remember arguing with her years ago when the allegations against Darren Hughes had surfaced and her defence of Phil Goffs handling of that was principled as is her handling of this now.
Allegations have been made, an investigation has progressed, those allegations weren’t borne out by the investigation. Jacinda defends that.
Unfortunately principled values doesn’t wash in a post MeToo cultural landscape of subjective rage.
Allegations are the new evidential threshold and due process is cis male privilege. In a Millennial micro-aggression policing culture, any unwanted attention can become a hate crime. Fourth wave feminist mantra dictates that Jacinda side with those making the accusations and cast out the accused.
The speed and ease with which allegations can spin out of control has already been well witnessed in NZ recently. The law firm that was painted out to be a den of sexual abuse was investigated and found to have some bad pockets of unprofessional behaviour. Anihera Zhou Black claimed her husband was part of a pedophile sex ring that went to the highest levels of NZ politics and Jami-Lee Ross had 4 anonymous women annihilate him with allegations some of which had political motivations.
These latest allegations about this Staffer were emailed to a large list of journalists a few weeks back, and why didn’t anyone pick up those allegations then? It was because the letter was, how does one say this, very, very, very emotional and it detracted credibility. So the journalists didn’t run with it until Newshub and Paula Bennett got involved this week.
The staffer in Jacinda’s office has had several complaints regarding his behaviour, he required a friend to sit down with him and suggest that it was time to resign because it doesn’t matter if he is innocent or not, once the allegations are made of inappropriate behaviour in this environment, you are guilty.
Is that unfair and cruel? Sure, but this is where we are now.
The Leaders Office needs to be the one facilitating that oversight and have perilously opened the PM up to allegations of hypocrisy by dropping the ball on this.