ODT on Hughes affair

The ODT editorial:

People who hold positions of high office can expect scrutiny over behaviour that might be said in some respect to impact or reflect upon the performance of public duty. And a police investigation certainly exceeds any objective minimum threshold for justifiable public interest, which is why the original handling of the Darren Hughes matter by the Labour Party leadership was, and is, inexplicable. …

It will be recalled Mr Hughes, some days after the news of the investigation broke, stepped down from his position as senior whip; then, as the furore grew and details leaked into the public domain, he resigned from Parliament. Had his leader, Phil Goff, played a more decisive and firmer hand earlier, it is quite possible Mr Hughes would now be able to resume his place in the House; had Mr Goff, for instance, announced to Parliament and to the people of New Zealand, as soon as he became aware of it, that Mr Hughes was facing a police investigation over an allegation and was immediately standing aside until the investigation was complete, the way for his rapid rehabilitation might still be open.

There is a near universal consensus that Darren would probably still be an MP today, if Phil Goff had handled the issue better. That’s bitter medicine for Labour MPs to reflect upon over the next few months. Their own leader effectively robbed them of one their most popular and effective MPs.

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