- Date published:
5:32 pm, September 12th, 2019 - 252 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Deep stuff, jacinda ardern, Kelvin Davis, labour, Parliament, paula bennett, Politics - Tags: assault, Labour Party, Parliament
The person from the Labour party Parliamentary team accused of sexual assault has quit his job. This was probably inevitable, whether they are guilty or not. His position was effectively untenable once the allegations went public.
As I understand it, the person has not been actually put through an employment related disciplinary process. However, I can see a claim of ‘constructive dismissal’ looming, particular if the accusations are not proven.
Language around the case has been interesting; Kelvin Davis has been accused of trying to diminish the claims by supposedly referring to them as ‘rumours’. Mind you, that requires a specific reading of the word “kōhimuhimu”. If you are an expert on te reo, and Paula Bennett apparently thinks she is, this is damning. I look forward to her attempts to parse ti tiriti o Waitangi. A grateful nation awaits …
Another linguistic tic has puzzled me. Why is this appalling situation being referred to as a ‘sex’ scandal?
Sexual assault is not ‘sex’.
And using ‘donkey deep’ to describe the PM’s involvement is equally puerile.
This is a really nasty situation for Labour. As with the accusations of anti-semitism levelled at Jeremy Corbyn’s UK Labour Party, it could dog Jacinda Ardern for months, even years. The handling of the matter has been appalling, possibly out of a misplaced duty to protect the leader. It’s right that Nigel Haworth has resigned. What would be better if we knew exactly why.
It potentially could significantly hurt Labour to the point where they may have to continue with the current three party arrangement post election, when a Labour/Green Government was on the cards.
But that’s small beer in the long run.
First up, support for the alleged victims.
Then a swift, effective recalibration in Labour about culture, and the installation of better processes for addressing misbehaviour, whether by staff or ordinary members.
My instinct is that the Labour leadership will learn from this and do things better in future.
If they don’t, then the politics of niceness mean nothing.