The Herald originally reported:
But the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.
Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.
“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.”
But Newstalk ZB reported:
Mr Cunliffe admits a prominent New Zealander’s possible sexual offending had been raised with him before he met with the man in Queenstown last week.
The Labour leader says the meeting went ahead because no proof had been supplied.
It would have taken one phone call to find out. One could have had a staffer ask the person in question, or pretty much anyone in Queenstown. But they wanted his help with the local Labour candidate, so they decided to do a don’t ask, don’t tell policy.
Now I’m not advocating the man in question should be a pariah. But this episode suggests that Cunliffe’s apology to Rape Crisis for being a man was easy words, but not action.
I mean just a few days after you make national headlines for apologising for being a man to Rape Crisis, and saying we have a rape culture in New Zealand, you go and meet a prominent New Zealander who has plead guilty in court to sexual assault but got name suppression for it. And you admit you did hear about it prior to meeting him, but ignored it.