Newshub can reveal the Labour Party has been forced to review an internal investigation into bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault by a Labour staffer.
It follows complaints the investigation process was botched and traumatising for the alleged victims. At least four people have resigned from official party roles and cancelled their membership as a result.
The complainants say the party’s done nothing to improve its processes since the sexual harassment allegations at last year’s Young Labour summer camp.
Learning from your mistakes is what people expect. It seems in this case Labour has not.
Seven party members and officials laid complaints this year accusing a senior Labour staffer of unacceptable behaviour ranging from bullying and intimidation to sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Their complaints were investigated in March and no disciplinary action was taken. The man’s lawyer says the allegations were untrue.
Seven different people laid complaints, and Labour’s response was they were all wrong?
Complainants have spoken of panic attacks, vomiting and having to take days off work because they were so scared of the staffer.
At least four people have resigned from official party roles and cancelled their Labour membership.
“We consider these people our family, our whānau, and it’s really disappointing to see how we’ve been treated,” the complainant said.
Yet Labour took no action?
As far back as August 2018, Labour Party president Nigel Haworth was informed the staffer told a woman she was elected within the party because she “would be nice to sleep with”.
He was also told a senior ministerial staffer had warned an alleged victim that if she told anyone about the staffer’s behaviour she would be shut-down.
“It’s really disappointing to see the Prime Minister’s Office standing by,” the complainant said. “They all knew and nothing’s happening.”
It isn’t clear if the person is a Labour Party staffer or someone who works for a Labour Minister or MP.
It wasn’t until July 5 when the party president emailed complainants explaining that no action would be taken and that “there is no appeal process”.
Labour is the party of fairness!
UPDATE: It gets worse. The Herald reports:
Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper says the allegations involved not only sexual assault but rape, offers to pay for sex – and that there were 12 alleged complainants.
“What they’re saying is, the party is telling them not to comment. They say people incredibly high up are on the side of the accused in the Beehive,” Soper said.
12 complainants including one of rape and Labour’s conclusion was nothing to see here. Incredible.
Ardern would not comment on whether the alleged offender worked in her office, and said the matter was currently one for the party, and not an employment matter.
It was about the conduct about a member of the party, and not about the employer or workplace. The Prime Minister would not comment on whether the alleged culprit still worked for the party.
If the media are asking whether the person works in her office, that strongly suggests they do. That makes it more explosive.
As far as she was aware police had not been involved.
“They talked about not just sexual assault but rape, they said that this person worked in the Beehive for two years, he was offering promotions for sex. They said there was a huge power imbalance, they said the person was well known to Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson.
“They said one victim was hospitalised, two were still working at Parliament, six others were junior party members and there were 12 victims in all.”
Wow. This is going to turn very toxic unless Labour can satisfy the alleged victims.