Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of the Ardern Administration?
How damaging are this week’s extraordinary revelations surrounding Labour’s disgraceful mishandling of sexual assault allegations to the prospects of the party clinging onto power following next year’s election?
Will the exposure of what has to be regarded as a deep vein of hypocrisy, insincerity and cynicism running through the very heart of the governing party turn out to be a tipping point which will end with Labour being tipped out of office?
Has this unseemly episode exposed Jacinda Ardern as both a fake and a flake?
In short, has Labour drastically reduced its chances of retaining the Government benches in Parliament by unwittingly blunting the fire-power of its most potent weapon?
Such questions might be regarded as being somewhat over the top.
To the contrary, however, the tumult of the past week has been as serious a crisis as any that have afflicted the party since the bitter ideological warfare which tore Labour apart in the late 1980s.
The latest example of Labour’s predilection for shooting itself in both feet was kicked off by Monday’s publication by The Spinoff website of the harrowing account of a 19-year-old Labour Party volunteer’s struggle to get the party’s hierarchy to take her complaint of alleged sexual assault seriously.
They chose well in going to The Spinoff. The Spinoff is such a liberal left leaning publication beloved by Labour MPs and activists that having it published there had a far greater impact than if it was say Stuff or the NZ Herald. Also it allowed the full story to be told, not sub-edited down to size.
The offhand and shabby treatment by the party of a number of such complaints of alleged sexual assault and misconduct is not just a disgrace. It sits in the realm of the despicable.
Labour’s behaviour has been as callous and mean-spirited as the practices of some organisations and business entities that the party professes to abhor.
The treatment included “Sarah” waiting 73 days for a meeting with the Labour President over her complaint and then a further 129 days for Labour to agree to look into it and 118 days for a decision after the interview.
Labour claims to be the voice of the powerless fighting against the all-too powerful. In this instance, it was trampling the powerless into the dust.
It has all made a nonsense of Ardern’s positioning herself as a promoter of women’s rights and a voice of young voters.
The dereliction of duty on the part of Labour’s New Zealand Council, the party’s governing body, has simultaneously made a mockery of Ardern’s declared intention to inject kindness and compassion into the conduct of politics.
Also this is not the first time young activists for Labour have been treated appallingly. The first was the poor interns from overseas who ended as as unpaid workers under false pretences. They had to go to the media to get justice. Then the victims at the Labour Summer Camp. They had to go to the media to get action. And then this incident. Every single time Labour has failed to act to protect the young activists until they go to the media.