UPDATE: In defence of Jacinda Ardern’s handling of the sex scandal & the danger of trials by media

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No one else is defending Jacinda, so dammit I will.

I’ve known Jacinda for a very long time. She’s babysat my daughter and I’ve known Clarke since Channel Z days.

I remember in 2011 when she and I were having a coffee at Occum Cafe in Grey Lynn during the Darren Hughes scandal. I was arguing that Phil had handled it poorly and hadn’t sacked Hughes immediately, Jacinda was arguing for due process. In that case the due process led to Hughes resigning himself.

That’s Jacinda in a nutshell. She stands for what is fair and what is just and believes in due process over the knee-jerk of the lynch mob.

I point blank refuse to believe she would not have acted immediately if she knew the latest scandal was a serious sexual assault.

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Yes, I certainly think the benefit of the doubt has been extended to the Labour Staffer and yes I believe the Staffer’s connections have reinforced that benefit, but those are naturally occurring defences employed whenever a colleague is accused of something, however to extend that to out right denial and lying by the Prime Minister is unfounded and spiteful.

Heather Duplicitous has claimed some great moment of catching the Prime Minister out because there were rumours in August of a sexual assault.

Heather’s allegations are a false conflation.

Yes there were rumours circulating in August but internally Jacinda was receiving assurances that this wasn’t a sexual assault. To try and damn her for that is spurious and beneath the seriousness of this allegation.

What do I believe has happened?

I believe the exact same misplaced loyalty to protect the PM from the Summer Camp scandal has occurred in this latest scandal and Jacinda was kept in the dark to ‘protect’ her from fallout.

What needs to happen now?

Nigel Haworth must resign and the Staffer sacked. It doesn’t even matter now if he has or hasn’t followed procedure and it doesn’t even matter if the allegations are false or true at this stage because we have a social media feeding frenzy and emotionally manipulative statements from ‘survivors’ leading the news. One male surviver wishes to meet with Jacinda to lecture her on rape culture while Paula Bennett is being leaked information. The woke are at DEFCON 1 with all the resulting subjective rage that creates, the Spin Off has reached a level of sanctimony difficult to achieve without a Church and the Alt-Right who tend to not give two shits about sexual assaults are now suddenly all Matthew Hooton feminists.

Nothing less than heads rolling will cauterise this and move this from the headlines.

There is also something else in all of this. As every organisation attempts to come to grips with sexual assaults in a post MeToo landscape, it seems we are judging organisations very harshly over an issue that the Police and the Court system struggle to find justice.

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. Even the Summer School scandal went from mass sexual assaults to 2 assaults.

When the legal system that is built and resourced to handle these allegations are barely capable of doing so, demanding a forensic level of justice from organisations seems terribly misplaced.

Do I think every accusation should be believed? No I don’t, I think they need to be taken seriously and in this case that simply hasn’t happened.

To watch all of the good Jacinda has worked on destroyed because of this would be the most damaging self-mutilation ever.  Prime Minister, you must amputate before this swallows your legacy and this staffer must face the law for the sake of the young woman who is accusing him.

 

UPDATE: Nigel Haworth has resigned.

After everything we’ve seen since Jacinda became PM – the courage, resilience & leadership she exhibited in the wake of the Christchurch massacre & her empathy on a dozen other issues, would have knowingly covered up a sexual assault is a character assassination of the most vile. Those politicians and right wing media trolls peddling such malicious claims do so on the reputation of good decent person.

58 COMMENTS

  1. This issue needs to be sorted asap and there seems to be layers to it and it seems to be making pull the benefits day not much makes her happy now she cant breach peoples privacy or stop their benefit she has no power so CAN labour stop giving her something to be happy about.

  2. The key word is “alleged”. Certainly there should be a thorough investigation (unlike what happened with Brett Kavanaugh). But let’s not have a forgone conclusion and media biased guilty verdict driven by National (as in the Herald, Spinoff opinion pieces and Newshub’s continued unsubstantiated allegations on supposed attachments on emails and on hearing that “someone” supposedly saw the perpetrator in parliament… with provocative phrases like “Word has it… “). And regarding the Greens, why is no one publishing the alleged offensive portions of the Jill Abigail so we can see for ourselves without going though a media filter that simply pronounces a kangaroo court guilty verdict “By any reasonable reading of Abigail’s essay, Davidson’s accusation is entirely groundless.” OK… how? How about at the very least quoting a few sentences in context? I can’t find any of the offending quotes anywhere on line. Why is no one answering this?? A lot of very serious (and perhaps libellous?) name calling and allegations with no evidence are being floated by many in the right wing media.

  3. Taking the initiative and actually delivering on some of their election promises, rather than putting them in the too hard basket would give MSM something else to talk about. The Labour party can only determine so much and expel the person involved. The victim has to lay a complaint with police which they seem reluctant to do. Distracting the media wont lessen their ability to get justice, but should lessen the fallout from Labour scoring an own goal once again.

    • well said alan.. where is the victom’s police testimony? if it is so abhorrent. maybe its the circular sin of people disguising their own desire. to being aparty to the act. maybe they are lying.?

      its as if the PM has done something wrong. wich she hasn’t. she is adorable, and has a heart for the people.
      this is a police issue. set him up…that’s what you do best.

  4. In a reply to your previous blog on this subject, there was a niggling thought in the back of my mind. If the situation as described was factually correct, any other person would probably already be serving at least five years in prison, why TF was no complaint made to the police???

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with your proposed remedy, Martyn. That those involved have not already removed themselves to protect the leader (as Matt McCarten so nobly did back in 2017) astonishes me.

    Also astonishing is that no one in the Labour hierarchy thought it prudent to record the verbatim testimony of the complainants, so that a full transcript could be produced and distributed.

    The failure of those in charge of the process to take this simple – but essential – precaution raises some very troubling questions.

    • You dont know all the facts, that’s what the QC investigation is for, yet you have already passed judgement, which is a large part of the problem Martyn has astutely highlighted in his articles.

  6. It seems as one of the alleged (sexual) assaults occurred at the residence of the accused Labour staffer and given the shocking nature of the alleged offence, why weren’t the police called to investigate? In this situation, I can’t see what this one particular issue on its own has to do with the Labour Party, which is in no position to address such a serious allegation!

    Regarding the other alleged assault incidents. If they occurred in the Parliamentary precinct, then surely that will be something for Parliamentary services to address? It seems like an employment issue that needs to be clamped down on quick smart otherwise the situation will continue to fester and leak like a pulsating sore (Paula Bennett?)

    • Yep I too smell a dirty rat? Why didn’t they go to police instead of the dirty rat Bennett?
      Why do leaks continue to occur and why to Bennett? Hasn’t she got her own dirty closet to clean, I mean it’s not like we’ve heard the FULL story of that sordid affair. Happy for JLR to go under the bus yet the text sender to kill himself is a victim. Seriously Bennett u have zero credibility!

      As for this situation we need to get the answer to the questions..why go to media and why go to Bennett?

    • I too am troubled that no where along this story did the victims go to the police.

      It’s not unreasonable that they fronted the party hieracy about these crimes to start with and the amateur hour bumbling response by arrogant totally out of their depth, bewilderingly stupid administrators with no expertise whatsoever, who thought they somehow knew better in dealing with this doesn’t exactly surprise me either, they already have form for that with the Young Labour Party camp’s botched response.
      But what I cannot reconcile at all is their next step was to go to someone as toxic and as crass as Paula Bennett? A person with a well known, utterly repulsive track record of leaking sensitive personal information for political gain?? Why the hell would the victims ever do that? Why??? I mean it’s not like she has any expertise in dealing with sexual assault anymore than Haworth.

      And just look at her using this to tease out little tid bits for pure personal pleasure and gain. I mean talk about piss on the graves of these victims. There no empathy, no privacy, just nasty self serving vileness. You could not possibly do a better job in furthering harm on these victims if one tried.

      That is what makes this whole matter even more bizarre and tilting toward dirty politics.

      • Mary bert and Xray… The story always seems to be that this is always an act that takes place in private with no witnesses and it’s a “he said she said” standoff with no way for the police to judge who is telling the truth beyond their sense of the integrity of the people involved; and no way to prove anything in court. The result being that as the complainant said in her spinoff interview, victims of this kind of offence seldom gain anything but humiliation and further traumatisation at the hands of the police and again at the hands of the court process. She opted in the first instance to avoid further humiliation very understandably .
        It was the apparent reaching out of the party following the Waihi incidents to anyone who had a similar issue that prompted her to imagine that she might get a serious hearing from the party . As it turned out that reaching out was purely a PR exercise to control the political fallout from that episode, and an actual complaint was the last thing they wanted. If she had not been prompted she would never have exposed herself to the added humiliation , and life would have carried on as it always does.
        By supporting her in an approach to the police the party organisation could have been an enormous support for her, especially with the other complaints giving a broader picture, which the party had to bring to the table and she had not.
        D J S

      • Listening to Bridges on the news tonight makes himself out to be the biggest political hypocrite in history. You really are “simple” Simon! Remember those tapes and how you hid behind Bennett in the sordid JLR affair.

      • Bullying is one thing but add a sexual factor and they; ‘Soper, Duplicity, Hoskings start frothing at the mouth in pre-orgsmic frenzies. One can almost see and taste the salivatory spittal as Paula Bennet wallows in sexual scahdenfreude (German Schadenfreude, from Schaden ‘harm’ + Freude ‘joy’.) or shoud it be ‘The joy of sex pus causing harm)

        As you say XRAY ,”There is no empathy, no privacy, just nasty self serving vileness.
        There no empathy, no privacy, just nasty self serving vileness..You could not possibly do a better job in furthering harm on these victims if one tried.”

      • David, you repeat the point I already made, the party fucked up.

        The other point I made that you completely bypassed is given the highly personal sensitive private nature of the complaints, is WHY then go to a skunk like Paula Bennett for “help”? Look at the very predictable public humiliation she has exposed the victims to for pure petty politicking.

        Christ, you could not possibly do the whole victimisation worse than to go to a nasty gossip monger like Bennett and what she used them for was entirely predictable! It’s as bad as any reprehensible component of this matter.

        • Xray. I didn’t set out to address every good point you made. And though I take your point about Paula not being the person you would choose to go to if you didn’t want exposure, by the time they did so their disappointment and further injustice they received trying to deal with it quietly within the labour party overcame their desire for privacy in the interests of not only redress for their own mistreatment but in the interests of helping to stop a rot within the party they have devoted their free time to. They themselves would have initially wanted to allow the party to deal with it quietly too . They were members not opponents .
          Going to Paula Bennet got results. If they hadn’t done so we would not be talking about it because we would not know about it. It was a last resort but a successful one.
          Cheers D J S

          • You make it sound like these victims had no choice, no justice system, no police, just Paula’s vigilante lynch mob.

            As far as the victims go there are no results, just more agony whilst being used and abused. Someone may end up under real investigation but talk about using the kamikaze method to achieve it.

            They could have gone to the police, who would have achieved far more with infinitely more sensitivity and privacy but no, they chose Paula Bennetts political abattoir and ensured this will remain as front and centre in the public eye as she and National can make it last.

            I for one am lost as to what they were really trying to achieve!

        • Xray: “given the highly personal sensitive private nature of the complaints, is WHY then go to a skunk like Paula Bennett for “help”? Look at the very predictable public humiliation she has exposed the victims to for pure petty politicking.”

          This is the thing that I cannot fathom. And it’s the reason why I’m sceptical about the entire story. I’m unable to escape the suspicion that it’s a Dirty Politics-style narrative. Most especially with Paula Bennett up to her fetlocks in it. In virtue of what should I believe what Bennett and the msm are telling me?

      • Xray: “…the Young Labour Party camp’s botched response.”

        Am I correct in thinking that case has been before the courts? Somebody was charged, made a plea bargain of some sort, right? A verdict was arrived at, even.

        That being so, it cannot be the case that the Labour hierarchy doesn’t know how to handle complaints of sexual assault. The police were involved in the summer camp case. It follows, therefore, that if a complaint at least as serious – and possibly more serious – were made to it, it would follow the proper course of action: contact the police.

        As I’ve said elsewhere: there’s something about this story that doesn’t smell right.

        • Involving Bennett meant someone decided to turn this complaint of what on the face of it was criminal matter into a political hit job.

          A sober intentional decision to use possibly genuine grievances and offences for political gain.

          I’ve read the almost word for word narrative doing the rounds, someone went to Bennett to get action to act upon their complaints because Labour failed them. The trouble is with that script is this wasn’t some pissy disagreement, this was quite serious criminal offending and going to an opposition politician to solve that not only makes NO logical sense, it is simply is ridiculous. The exact opposite of any effective approach to such offending.

          National think they’ve hit pay dirt and they think the bullshit of Bennetts involvement won’t be seen for what it is.

          To me the Nats dirty politics machine have over egged this pudding!

  7. You have my support here Martyn. But Jacinda does have to get it right from now on with this one;but again she needs to not rush into a fix that makes things worse or differently wrong.
    It is hard to imagine that she knew what had happened and did nothing. She sure is gaining some experience.
    My opinion is that the matter is not something that a political party can adjudicate on. It is and was always a matter for the police or at least an independent criminal lawyer to advise the complainants on what they should do with the total moral and financial support of the party. But the party cannot be a police force, a judge and a jury. If the complainants are not prepared to talk to the appropriate authorities it would make it hard for the organisation to act but they should have given full support to the complainants to do so.
    I do hope it doesn’t wreck Jacinda’s prime ministership, it wouldn’t be fair. And she is not very old to have that job. I hope people think how they would deal with this if it was on their plate.
    D J S

  8. Totally endorse your position Martyn. The tragedy would be that the Labour Party president tried to cover up this scandal to save his backside and ended dragging Ardern’s reputation through the mud.

    It’s unfortunate that good people are often tarnished by lesser mortals surrounding them, intoxicated by their own perceptions of importance!

  9. I agree John I thought they were gonna wait for the QC’s report now it looks like Nigel has been pushed and the young lady who was assaulted why did she not go directly to the police something is fishy and its coming from the blue team

  10. I note that Nigel Haworth has resigned. It sounds a bit like sacrificial lamb territory.

    A puzzle for me: if it’s true that complaints of serious sexual assault had been made to the Labour Party in the first instance, I’d have expected such complaints to be referred to the police immediately. I find it very difficult to believe that the Party hierarchy didn’t realise that, and send them on forthwith.

    It’s beginning to feel like a White Queen problem: believing six impossible things before breakfast.

    John Bunkley: “…regarding the Greens, why is no one publishing the alleged offensive portions of the Jill Abigail so we can see for ourselves…”

    It took a bit of hunting, but I found this:

    https://rdln.wordpress.com/2019/09/03/21871/

    Her piece looks pretty unexceptionable to me.

    • “Her piece looks pretty unexceptionable to me.”

      Trans people would disagree with you. If you’d been the target of Abigail’s op-ed you might view things different.

    • It would be good to know what parts were objected to all right D’E . Especially the last. I think injecting children to interfere with their natural development must be near the extreme end of child abuse and should be sanctioned by societies laws as an extreme form of molestation.
      D J S

      • What “natural development” is being interfered with David?? Not up to you to decide that I would say

        Just as its none of your business if gay relationships are not “natural development” for young people

        You moralists need to get out of other people’s lives

        • Mjolnir: “What “natural development” is being interfered with David?? Not up to you to decide that I would say”

          David is correct, you know, and he’s as entitled to proffer an opinion as anybody else.

          If pubescent children are being given puberty-blocking drugs, that’s a most egregious interference with a physical process which ought properly to be allowed to take its course. Uncertainty about one’s sexuality is not uncommon in young teens; but with increasing physical and intellectual maturity, things usually sort themselves out, one way or another.

          Unless, of course, such uncertainty is an indicator of mental health problems. We have experience of mental illness in my extended family: relevant assistance needs to be offered in the first instance, and promptly.

          “Just as its none of your business if gay relationships are not “natural development” for young people”

          I’ve reread David’s comment; he said nothing of the sort. It seems to me that you’ve invested his comment with semantic weight that it doesn’t carry; cannot carry.

          Though again: were it the case that he’d said something of that sort, he’s entitled to have an opinion about such things. As are we all.

          David did say this: “I think injecting children to interfere with their natural development must be near the extreme end of child abuse….”

          And I agree with him. I’d hope that this happens rarely; it’s as bad as what John Money was rightly criticised for, all those years ago. Adults need to stay out of it until puberty is complete, and children are old enough to be able to exercise agency over their sexuality and their lives.

      • David Stone: “It would be good to know what parts were objected to all right…”

        Indeed. I’ve read the article again. The author is expressing her views; it still looks unexceptionable to me. Were I in her shoes, I’d agree with her. I note the comments in reply….

  11. If she didn’t know she is incompetent. If she did know, she is incompetent.
    I’m not sure which brand of incompetence is worse.
    If Labour loses the next election you can blame it on her appalling handling of this situation.
    The KiwiBuild and KiwiTree fiascos weren’t necessarily terminal and could have been smoothed over before the next election.
    This may not be so.

    • Blahhhhhhhhhhhhh, blah, blah, blah says Jays. The alternatives we know of, The National Party are not clean of sexual misconduct and over zealous reactionaries. Just ask Jamie Lee Ross. If you’re looking for a coalition Partner on behalf of the National Party then I’ll tell you you’re looking in the wrong place.

      • some testosterone charged twit oversteps the mark… and hey its all Jacinda’s fault.
        Is that not misplaced misogyny or just petty political distortion?

        • It was a mixed bag depending on where people perceive the power to be. Some have gone to Jacinda, a bit to National, a bit to Paula Bennet, the accused and the victims, Y’know a slice to the police. Which begs the question why shield all this from public scrutiny and turn it into cannon fodder for the tabloids.

          This isn’t a solid group. But they where probably relived up until The Spin Off broke the news. Now everyone has been caught holding there dick. Time for Jacinda to slap that lippy all over it. Y’know I have no time for people who want to clean themselves with this shit. Make no mistake, the crown better watch themselves. They better get real fucking good at raising children in state care real fucking quick because as it happens, they’re shit at looking after a 19 year old sexual abuse survivor.

  12. “We should not let Labour get away with it….etc etc.” The Stuffyou.com headlines scream.
    Funny how when a National Prime Minister was fondling the pony tail of a restaurant worker the MSM let HIM smile and weasle word HIS way out of trouble.
    And remember it is not Jacinda herself who is facing these allegations, it is a junior staffer.
    I assume that different rules apply when it is National in government.

  13. ” most transparent government ever”
    What ever Grant Robinson says will be less important then what he does not say.
    The only way he can avoid lying is to say nothing.

  14. In my view a party is more than one person and I think that’s the take away here. I believe Ardern rates more highly than Bridges as preferred leader but National are still a few points ahead in the polls? Ordinary people like myself are focused on policy and a party’s collective actions. More so I believe than elements of the press and politicians themselves anticipate.

  15. Sorry Martyn, I’m not buying it. If I give Jacinda a huge amount of leeway in believing that she didn’t know, when all those around her did know, then what does that say about her leadership? Who’s running the show? Is the Labour leadership so petrified that they’ll lose their biggest asset that they keep her in the dark about such things?

    She’s coming off as weak and ineffective. Wheeled out for photo ops and touchy feely stories, while others behind her are feeding her ‘what she needs to know’

    Would never happen on Helen’s watch and Jacinda is fast becoming a puppet PM

      • Look at your own comments? She is hollow and fake, but all of you are engaged in the Halo effect. Personality politics for the shallow and feeble minded. You are all where you are meant to be. Seriously bottom feeding lefties actually blaming the victim. I have taken a screenshot of the comments to show how backwards and irrational he supporters of jacindamania are. What an ugly bunch you lot are. As if the young woman has not been through enough. How shameful and twisted.

  16. The National Party owned state media eg the NZ herald, TVNZ etc has resulted in me no longer bothering to take the state media seriously anymore.
    In other words I have now completely switched off reading the tabloid NZ herald. It has lost me as a reader and probably many others who are now fed up to the back teeth with the venom and hatred of Jacinda and the current government that only a National Party supporting media outlet can have.
    There is no perfect human on this planet but right now Paula Bennett, of all lowlifes on the planet, is deeming herself and the NZ National Party as being so perfect and without an ounce of sin or wrongdoings(past and present and indeed into the future)that they(National)just cannot do anything wrong. To have such a level of arrogance is something that is rife throughout the entire NZ National Party and its mouthpiece the tabloid NZ herald.
    I am not too sure as to what Paula Bennett is on in the drug paraphernalia field but she certainly has done an expert job in destroying any credibility the NZ National Party had left.
    And in regards to the tabloid NZ herald. Well they have relegated themselves to the equivalent of one of those stupid womens magazines like the NZWW, New Idea etc.etc.etc. The ONLY reason I would look at a woman’s magazine is either for the horoscope or the puzzles. The rest doesn’t merit reading because it’s so pathetic. And hence the NZ herald now entering the same realm of readership as a stupid womans magazine.
    Oh and by the way I am a female.

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