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.
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.