That will see Nigel go shortly as the deserved but insufficient sacrificial lamb.
The reasons Jacinda Ardern is in the mess she is over this alleged sex abuse scandal are several-fold.
One, she didn’t own it. Two, she let it drag. Three, she didn’t seem to want to know. Four, she showed no real direct concern for the alleged victims. Five, she seemed to think she and the Labour Party are two different things. Six, her strength is empathy – and that’s been found wanting. Seven, when she finally got to it she hired someone to sort it, the QC.
She keeps talking about the Labour Party as if it is some remote body she has heard of, not as if she is its leader.
How many alarm bells, red flags, call them what you want, do you need after something as disastrous as the summer camp for you to go nuclear when you hear of new and seemingly even more serious allegations against young members or volunteers of your party?
What is remarkable is that they dealt with this even worse than the summer camp. The summer camp issue went public because the party was non responsive for three weeks. Here they went non-responsive for six months. And the person in question wasn’t some random person, but a staffer of the Labour Leader’s office.
But the damage here for the Prime Minister is the simple inability to see and own trouble, the lack of desire to understand warning signs, or any level of seriousness. The image she has increasingly earned, and is looking like she is now stuck with, is a hands-off operator, a person for the press release and photo shoot, not for the detail.
There isn’t an issue that a report, working group, chinwag, or minister can’t deal with.
And what makes this egregious, is this is her area of so-called expertise: empathy. Having won attention, and praise post-March 15, on a matter of a deeply personal and emotive nature within her own party, she seems to have completely missed the memo.
The revelations on our show that she had not phoned, hadn’t talked to anyone, or had her people look into it. She had her people talk to Haworth – who is she, the Queen?
More head of state than head of government.
There was a highly popular television series in the 1960s called “Hogan’s Heroes” and one of its stars was a large German guard Sergeant Schultz who constantly came up with a rejoinder to any crisis, barking out: “I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing.”
It’s been hard this week to look at Jacinda Ardern and Labour Party president Nigel Haworth and not to think of the German’s theatric denials.
It beggars belief that the leadership of the Labour Party didn’t know something about the allegations of sexual abuse levelled at a Labour staffer.
If they didn’t know, they must have been the only people in NZ who didn’t.
It was only yesterday when she read the account of the alleged sexual assault on a 19-year-old volunteer on the website The Spinoff that she claims she realised sex was involved. It seems as though Ardern’s been living in a soundproof cocoon for the past several weeks as the media around her raged about the alleged sexual assaults.
And the same could be said of Haworth, who says he too was unaware of the serious allegation of sexual assault until he read the account yesterday.
Not everyone can be telling the truth, between Ardern, Haworth and the complainants’ version of events so far.
And the complainants’ have documentary evidence to back up their story, in terms of informing Labour.
Don’t expect the guilt to fall on Ardern when the Queen’s Counsel they’ve hired to review the process Labour adopted in dealing with the complaint comes down with her finding.
The QC’s job is to exonerate Ardern (whom she reports to) and find a scapegoat. Or blame the system.
With both of them doing a Sergeant Schultz, they sound about as credible as he was.