- Date published:
8:11 am, September 21st, 2022 - 65 comments
Categories: Christopher Luxon, national, politicans, same old national, uncategorized - Tags:
The only word that I can think of is clusterfuck.
I cannot understand how badly Christopher Luxon has handled the Maria Dew report into what Sam Uffindell may have done when he was a younger person.
I said previously that I thought a finding about the allegations from the former Dunedin flatmate could be career ending. Being a bully and a dick at the age of 15 is something that most of us could forgive. Being a sexist arsehole and a bully while at University would cause many of us to think twice.
Let us review what was said about his behaviour at the time. From Craig McCulloch at Radio New Zealand:
Uffindell’s former flatmate, who RNZ has agreed not to name, lived with the man and three other Otago University students for several months in Dunedin in 2003.
She told RNZ Uffindell engaged in a pattern of bullying during their second year at university, describing him as “verbally aggressive”.
Uffindell would trash the house after “excessive” use of alcohol and drugs, she said.
“This was intimidation. This was bullying. I didn’t feel safe,” she said.
The woman said she eventually moved out of the flat after having to lock herself in her bedroom to avoid a drunken outburst one night.
“He was smashing on my door and yelling obscenities and basically telling me to get out – ‘hit the road, fatty’.
“I ended up climbing out of my bedroom window and ran to a friend’s house to stay the night. I feared for my safety. I was scared.”
The woman said it was not an isolated incident: “it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Her father travelled to Dunedin the next day to help her move out, she said.
Speaking to RNZ, the woman’s father corroborated his part in the story and said his daughter had been “seriously upset”.
“The flat itself was completely trashed. There wasn’t a stick of furniture left. There was no crockery left. There were no handles left on anything. It had all been broken.”
He said he gave Uffindell and two of the other flatmates “a serious piece of [his] mind” at the time.
“It was clear… [Uffindell] had real issues, real problems… he was out of control.”
The woman said she was traumatised by the event and did her best to avoid Uffindell from then on: “my stomach would absolutely flip and drop if I saw him.”
Looking back, the woman said she should have spoken to someone or taken some sort of action, but she was too scared. Uffindell never apologised for his actions, she said.
She said people may try to excuse Uffindell’s actions because of his age, but the pattern of behaviour revealed his character.
Then fast forward to the announcement of Maria Dew’s report where Luxon talked about the report but released no part of it.
The presentation of the conclusion is interesting. The report apparently conceded that the complainant suffered harm but in what appear to be very carefully crafted words Luxon said “there are differing accounts of what occurred and Ms Dew concluded the event was not as it was described in the media”. Which part of the description was wrong? All of it or just parts of it?
The only aspect of the description which has some detail is the allegation that Uffindell said “hit the road fatty”. National’s statement said “Mr Uffindell has acknowledged that things were said that he now realises his flatmate overheard, which he regrets.”
If this is the only difference then the claim that he is a bully should have been upheld.
National’s is treading a very narrow line in its handling of the matter. On one hand it is essentially accusing the complainant of not telling the truth, although this is why the terms of reference are so important. The standard of proof to be applied is critical and we don’t know what standard of proof Maria Dew used in making her conclusion.
On the other hand National claims that the reason for the cautious release of information is to respect the rights of privacy of others including the complainant.
To imply that she is not telling the truth and then refuse to let us understand the context and how that conclusion was reached is appalling.
The complainant has just made the whole incident really messy for National by asking that a redacted copy of the report be released.
From Radio New Zealand:
National MP Sam Uffindell’s former flatmate and her father are happy for Maria Dew KC’s report to be publicly released, in redacted form.
Uffindell was returned to his party’s caucus this week after leader Christopher Luxon said the inquiry cleared him of bullying behaviour beyond his boarding school years.
The Tauranga MP was stood down after a former flatmate told RNZ he was an aggressive bully at Otago University; once pounding on her bedroom door, yelling, until she fled through her window.
Dew’s independent inquiry into the incident “did not substantiate any allegations of bullying outside of Sam’s time at King’s College”, party president Sylvia Wood said on Monday.
National says the report found Uffindell “did not engage” in the behaviour his former flatmate detailed on RNZ last month – which prompted the inquiry.
That included dismissing her claims he bashed on her door yelling obscenities and smashed up the flat through violent behaviour.
But the woman and her father stand firmly by her account of what happened at the flat, and are deeply unhappy Uffindell’s word was taken over hers.
She had originally said she fled to her friend’s house but later said she ran to the library where she called her father, who put her up in a motel for the night.
The woman gave a written statement during the inquiry but did not participate further, believing it to be a political snow job – bought and paid for by the National Party.
The last sentence is probably the reason why Maria Dew KC made the finding that she did. It is really hard to determine what is true when comparing a written statement to a verbal statement. Especially if the burden of proof is beyond reasonable doubt.
National’s hope that it could bury this matter by releasing it on the day of the Queen’s funeral has not worked out.
And there is no justification for it to withhold at least a redacted copy of the report.
There are other interesting aspects to to this story.
Like the National Party Caucus did not see a copy of the report but decided to accept the recommendation that Sam be part of their happy family again.
Or an initial report that Sam did not receive a copy of the report. The lawyer in me yelled what about natural justice?
But then it appears that Sam did receive a copy of the report. The lawyer in me yelled can you make your freakin mind up.
A National Party spokesperson now says Luxon's earlier comments were incorrect, and Uffindell does have a final copy of the report.
— Aaron Dahmen (@dahmenaaron) September 20, 2022
Can I invite the media to reflect on where we are now. There is a KC report that we have not seen, not even the executive summary. We do not know what the terms of reference are. We do not know who the KC interviewed, or what they said.
We are being asked to believe that the Complainant’s statement is not correct. Yet there is an acknowledgement that she suffered harm and Uffindell has not denied saying something really gross about her but has come up with the defence that he did not intend her to hear what he said.
Luxon’s handling of this is a disaster. Judith must be grinning from ear to ear.
GEEZ, just imagine the clusterfuck running country.
Talking of clusterfucks, how's the Sharma affair coming along? Well, let's hope voters have a short memory. Say what you want about Luxon's handling of the Uffindell affair, at least he had an independent inquiry that put space between the facts and allegations, and the National Party. Some voters will no doubt take that into account. My suggestion is if anyone on this blog has the ear of someone in Labour's hierarchy, they tell them to pull finger. It worries me how many posters are failing to comprehend the precarious position Labour is in with the voting public. Forget Luxon. Surely there are more pressing concerns?
This OP is about National, Luxon, and Uffindell. If you want to raise any other pet issues then use OM.
Independent inquiry"? With no terms of reference or findings, a secret cover-up comes to mind.
If you want to discuss it, come over to OM. Either it was an independent inquiry, or it wasn't.
Terrible judgement on Luxon's part.
Should have thrown Uffindell under the bus…and moved on.
Blazer, that would have meant taking responsibility, something these people are big on when it comes to others.
I wish he had thrown him under a bus because that is what he deserved, but from a political perspective this appears to have been dealt with well by Luxon.
He intentionally buried the release on the day of the Queen's funeral, and 48 hours later the story is running out of puff due to him controlling the story. The story already seems to have been superseded today by the Mahuta probe.
Deeply cynical and typical of National, but far from being a clusterfuck, at this stage, it looks to have been very effective political management.
Lets see what Tauranga voters do in 12 months.
Tauranga voters will re-elect Uffindell, in a safe National seat. But that is not the issue that matters at the general election.
Luxon's management hasn't been "very effective" at all. It's noticeable how much of the (non-lefty) political commentary has criticised him in the last 48 hours. The real problem for Luxon is that this is very much in keeping with the narrative about his leadership … unforced errors, again and again.
He really struggles with being upfront. He takes a minor matter (a vote on Matariki, a trip to Hawaii, ruling out Brian Tamaki) and then gets all evasive and makes it much worse.
And he doesn't learn. It seems to be his default setting – it is who he is, and that's a much bigger problem for National.
Really? I was hoping for this to be front page news, leading the news for a week, and the Nats being hounded for real answers by every journalist. In reality it has largely been a page 5 story. That was because of the intentional timing and something which he managed.
The report, and its release, was never going to be a good news story for the Nats so mitigating the negative headlines was always going to be Luxo's sole objective. From my observation they have done pretty well in that objective.
The problem when a CEO becomes a politician is that when he's a politician he has to back-up decisions he would have got a free pass on as a CEO.
"Tauranga voters will re-elect Uffindell, in a safe National seat"
If he is selected
National always had major shortcomings with transparency and accountability, a gang of hollow men & women. They are not fit to run this country, not the previous lot, not this current lot, and not the next lot, in all likelihood. I look forward to a special opinion poll by Curia on the abysmal lack of professional conduct and sound judgement of the National Party and Luxon.
Luxon has again acted as a CEO would act, with no regard for openness. His word is law and does not require explanation, the result is that Sam will never be exonerated and leaves National under a cloud. The National Caucus is happy to take Luxon's word and remain in the dark about the reports content.
uffindell is a sore that will fester .
Let's put to rest one part of your post Micky:
He wasn't a bully, he beat a sleeping 13 year old with a bed post – that makes him a thug!
Just imagine, for a moment, if a brown 16 year old had done something similar!
This is what "delivery" delivers – the missing direct object of the orphaned transitive verb. What gets delivered is a self-serving crock of sh*t dumped on your doorstep under cover of darkness. "Hey look, what I'm saying to you is that I delivered".
“The flat itself was completely trashed. There wasn’t a stick of furniture left. There was no crockery left. There were no handles left on anything. It had all been broken.”
National Party HQ.
Very good, Robert. It's a reminder that we should all get involved in political parties to control and keep away from the levers of power such individuals.
They can also trash a country…….
"She had originally said she fled to her friend’s house but later said she ran to the library where she called her father, who put her up in a motel for the night."
So she's a liar, she's not to be trusted?
To me that's like saying someone claiming to be a rape victim is not to be trusted when they say it happened on the sofa then saying it happened on the floor by the sofa.
That young woman is telling the truth!
Thirty years ago, I went through a similar experience. The difference: the bullying and intimidation occurred in the workplace but it did eventually go beyond. My Public Service bosses chose to believe the bully and not me. They effectively told me I was a liar and they placed me under a twelve month caveat. I was not allowed to talk to anyone during that time. It went further than that too.
They got away with it for the same reason… fear of further intimidation and reprisals ensured I never took the matter further.
Money buys white-washes and kicks the victims down the road – sans justice.
'There is a KC report that we have not seen, not even the executive summary. We do not know what the terms of reference are. We do not know who the KC interviewed, or what they said."
Do National think they are the government ?
subtle …yeah not so much
Given natz inability to lie straight in bed do we even know that what Cluxon says is a true reflection of the KCs report
Well of course they can't lie straight in bed – Sam has flogged one of the legs.
National want a Finance Minister with cruel streak to carry out their darstedly policies IF they are elected.
My reaction was Luxon "I'm wearing my forgiving friend hat, not my leader hat" imo.
What a total crock.
You miss the point. I wasn't comparing Sharma's case to Uffindells. I was comparing how Labour handled the former, and National the latter.
The victim of his violent abuse is happy to have the report released but her name redacted and said it wasn't an isolated incident .The ODT has an statement from the woman who Uffindell was threatening with menace.Luxon's body language looked really bad as he lied his way through the press interview. Luxon and National are in big trouble over this.The victim of Uffindell's wideapread abuse wants the report published with her name redacted,She says the National Party are white washing Uffindell's violent bullying as an isolated incident when in fact Uffindell was behaving like this regularly and he had trashed the flat completely not a stick of furniture left unbroken.The woman's father had to pay for his daughter for a hotel room for the night .Then her father helped her move out ,the father gave Uffindell a good dressing down while helping move his daughter out.A complete story in the OtagoDailyTimes.Luxon and National are in big big trouble over this whitewash trying to save face and another byelection will cost National ,it would have been much better to sack Uffindell and say we are a Party of the highest standards.Now Luxon has painted himself into a corner and will have to weasel his way out defending the undefendable.Luxon's credibility especially with women is completely down the gurglar given New Zealand's very high domestic abuse rates this has set a horrific example of criminal accountability ,a Party who says we are tough on crime Uffindell's own campaign saying we should be much tougher on youth crime .Uffindell saying young criminals should have more serious consequences .But not for him he doesn't have to he has his enablers the National Party to hide behind.
please fix your email address so you don’t get caught in the new commenter filter. And please provide a link to the ODT article seeing as how you are referencing it a lot.
Sorry Weka The ODT article is a subscriber only article paywall I don't have a subscription hopefully some else has.
Yes, the ODT has just added a paywall. Please paste the link for each article quoted from here anyway.
Edit: Sorry I just realised you are saying you do not have a subscription either – so where are you getting the information in your comment?
The victim of his violent abuse is happy to have the report released but her name redacted and said it wasn't an isolated incident .The ODT has an statement from the woman who Uffindell was threatening with menace.Luxon's body language looked really bad as he lied his way through the press interview. Luxon and National are in big trouble over this.The victim of Uffindell's wideapread abuse wants the report published with her name redacted,She says the National Party are white washing Uffindell's violent bullying as an isolated incident when in fact Uffindell was behaving like this regularly and he had trashed the flat completely not a stick of furniture left unbroken.The woman's father had to pay for his daughter for a hotel room for the night .Then her father helped her move out ,the father gave Unfidell a good dressing down while helping move his daughter out.A complete story in the OtagoDailyTimes.Luxon and National are in big big trouble over this whitewash trying to save face and another byelection will cost National .It would have been much better to sack Uffindell and say we are a Party of the highest standards.Now Luxon has painted himself into a corner and will have to weasel his way out defending the undefendable.Luxon's credibility especially with women is completely down the gurglar given New Zealand's very high domestic abuse rates this has set a horrific example of criminal accountability from a Party who says we are tough on crime. Unffidell's own campaign saying we should be much tougher on youth crime .Uffindell saying young criminals should have to face more serious consequences .But not for him he doesn't have to he has his enablers the National Party to hide behind.
So much for Luxon's Christianity and principles – and honesty… I only abide by them when it suits.
Luxon's god (deliberately small g) works to a different set of rules to what we might consider original Christianity.
Never ever trust a religious fundamentalist!
"Luxon said the terms of reference would not be released, but he outlined the “objectives” of the investigation.
“One was to get clarity and conclusion around the events in Otago,” he said.
“Secondarily to make sure that, subsequent to King's College, there was no ongoing pattern of bullying behaviour.”
So does this mean Dew found isolated instances of bullying behaviour? The terms of reference are pretty important, all right.
I listened to Mark Sainsbury on that Panel bit… at first I thought, who cares what Sainsbury says he 'reckons' about her? How is that evidence, or even relevant?
But then, that's what de Luxe is expecting of us re with his own words. 'I says so, the woman's a liar, trust me.'
Bit of a bad smell about it.
This whole saga points out why we have, and need, open courts, and indeed open democracy.
Who can be held accountable when things are secret and cannot be critically examined?
This Uffindell report is open to inaccuracy and suffers from that lack of scrutiny that enables accountability.
There are these factors. 1. The terms of reference are not open. 2. The evidence is not open. 3. The evidence has not all been heard. 4. The court style proceedings are lacking where juries and judges can judge body language and spoken testimony, and both prosecution and defence are able to question and pursue lines of enquiry. 5. The weighting of opposite views as decided by the KC is not given to us to see, and judge.
Trust in the process from the probity of the examiner to the enquiry's terms, to the completeness and accuracy of the evidence, to the accuracy of the actual publishing of the report-the trust is lessened by the fact of the secrecy.
I do not btw doubt the probity of the KC involved. She would not countenance a cover-up, I believe from trusted sources.
Need this obscurity be such,? Could not a redacted and anonymised report be published?
The only reason is that is not happening is that Uffindell would not survive that scrutiny.
I don't believe he will unless he was to allow and be fairly found free of serious misbehaviour by an open report, held according to good practice.
Is there any avenue for civil or criminal proceedings to be held in the open?
It is a revealing insight into Luxon's self-regard. He talks about forgiving as if he were the one to forgive. The woman's right to forgive (or not) is of no consequence. After all, if he has decided it didn't happen, then there's nothing to forgive … in Luxon's mind.
As for the political perception, it doesn't help Uffindell at all. If the report said "You were a dick, own it" and he said "Yes, I was a dick, I own it, I'm sorry" then perceptions of him might change. But now they are locked in.
Precisely! And that is how many people in powerful positions see it. If it is inconvenient, suppress the evidence in any way necessary. Never let the victim win. That is how they view proceedings – a battle between themselves and the victim. Justice doesn't even enter the picture.
Yep – which means it's Luxon's mind that is unforgiveable.
Is it just me, or is Luxon looking more and more like ScoMo?
I thought Muldoon with the smirking etc and the bug like glaring.
Oh yes Shanreagh.
It is absolutely standard not to release this type of report due to privacy concerns. In fact, Labour has done similar for those reasons. I am not criticizing Labour in this. The way the handled it was entirely appropriate.
But what it does demonstrate is issues of confidentiality for those who may have given evidence, and the fact that it can sometimes be difficult to release information without also providing enough detail for those people to be identified by people they would rather not know.
From that article:
Labour has released the recommendations in Austen's report and updated its internal policies to reflect them, which Szabó said "assures Labour members and the public that we are making the required improvements to our processes following this incident".
The Herald understands, however, the reason the public won't see the full review is because it would require a "substantial edit" to redact any potentially identifying material.
The other point is that a promise of complete confidentiality including a guarantee that no part of the report would be released publicly may have been given by the KC to encourage maximum willingness for complainants to come forward.
It is absolutely standard to release a summary, including the terms of reference and findings.
Yes, Luxon's original point was valid (protect complainants' confidentiality). But then he stepped off that solid ground and onto much flimsier pretexts, including:
– inquiry terms of reference kept secret. No valid reason for that.
– no National MPs allowed to read the report. Just Luxon saying "trust me". The MPs can't publicly criticise their leader, so they are left looking like fools, as they did on the news last night. "I haven't read it but I believe it" is a hopeless position to have to defend.
– he was then scuppered by the woman and her father, saying today that they are fine with the report (or summary, redacted) being made public. So Luxon's justification is gone.
As I say, the original decision (call in Drew, suspend Uffy) made Luxon look credible. But since Monday he's been anything but.
Summaries are anonymised, so privacy was always a red herring.
It may be difficult to fully anonymise a document so that it is impossible to identify, or hazard an educated guess about people who have contributed to the report on the basis of confidence.
Names can be removed. But times, dates, locations, actions etc may enable some people to put two and two together. There may only be a few people able to connect the details. But they may be precisely the people that the contributors feel unsafe if they were to know.
And if those details were removed entirely, the report may provide little more information than what already has been provided.
According to the quote in my previous post, that was one of the reasons why that particular report was not released.
"Similar", not the same. There's full transparency (release the lot), partial transparency (release a report's summary, as Lab did in the example you cited), and 'Trust National – nothing to see here – move along.' I'll trust the Gnats when their leader repudiates the political obscenity that was (and is) Dirty Politics. Trust National? Yeah Right!
Let's be clear – the Uffindell affair wasn't brought to light because of a political attack by Labour. It's National, true to form, doing it to themselves – Key's real legacy. If the Gnat's could sort themselves out, then this kind of attack might be more credible, imho.
The Mahuta family contracts investigation has now been announced.
Thanks for that link Bella – fleshes out the comment by James Simpson @2.2.
How likely is it that any current or future ‘leader’ of the Gnats will publicly repudiate the political obscenity that was (and is) Dirty Politics, in your opinion?
“partial transparency (release a report’s summary, as Lab did in the example you cited)”
According to the article, they just released the recommendations:
Labour has released the recommendations in Austen's report and updated its internal policies to reflect them, which Szabó
It could be argued that this is as much as what National has done, given that the recommendation was that there was no charge to answer.
Apologies ts, my mistake – was thinking of the parallel (unrelated) QC's report.
"Mr Uffindell's own acknowledgement that he is a different person now to the person he once was" is unremarkable; I'd prefer 'a better person', but 'better' is in the eye of the beholder.
If Luxon chooses to release verbatim any section of the KC's report on allegations against Uffindell (unrelated to his assault on a 13-year old), then that would be welcome, imho, and about as likely as the current or any future Nat ‘leader’ publicly repudiating the political obscenity that is Dirty Politics.
"I, once beat a boy,
or should I say, not me but we.
We entered his room.
Isn’t it good? Bedpost of wood.
I went to Dunedin to flat,
and just smashed everywhere.
Harassing my flatmates regardless,
I hadn’t a care, yeah.
I, hung up her grunds, biding my time,
Drank ginger wine.
Passed out until two.
Male flatmates said:
Mate, you’re an egg.
I told her I’d be an MP
and she started to laugh.
I tried masturbating then
crawled off to sleep in the bath.
And when I awoke
I was alone.
No student loan.
So I lit a fire
Burned now for good.
Terrible stuff that ginger wine – I'll be glad when I've had enough of it.
Seems neither Sam nor Xris have much experience of saying sorry – good folk to keep tf away from the levers of power.
Here are some thoughts about this 'report' that have now crossed my mind.
If Luxon is so willing to hide away the report then why is he so reticent to make it public? Are there some aspects of the report that National don't want the voting public of NZ to know about?
Is National so willing to show double standards when it comes to Trust?
For example I vaguely recall Luxon saying he 'trusts' one thing or another but his "trust' seems to be only on what he deems as necessary and in HIS BEST INTERESTS.
As he(Luxon)seems to have a problem with "Trust" then it indicates to me that we NZ voters needs to draw a line as to how much we can trust HIM???!!!
Bullying no matter in what shape or form is unacceptable to me. I have experienced a considerable degree of workplace bullying over the past so many years. Even to this day I find myself feeling like a failure because I had to deal with workplace bullying and made to feel like an imbecile due to it.
It's a weird combination of contradiction by the way in regards to National. One minute they are condemning the youth of today and yet they are so willing to excuse the Sam Uffendill's of the world for their "actions made whilst a young person"???!!!
All I can figure out about Luxon etc is they are very selective as to who does what in their youth and what is forgiveable etc . It so reminds me of I think John Key explaining away the activities of the Roast Busters(of which Max Key had close links with)with "Boys will be Boys…".
And the end thought(until something else crops up that is) is if Luxon is so happy to keep this report hidden then WHY? Is a portion of the report so bad and a bad reflection back upon National that Luxon doesn't want to let it see the light of day?
Luxon once beat the mantra drum of having been CEO of an airline. I do now wonder as to what reports made about Air NZ whilst Luxon was CEO that he managed to get 'hidden' from public attention???!!!!!
Is there something about Luxon and his past whilst CEO of Air NZ that also needs to be made public??!!!!
Both Air NZ and the NZ National Party have depended upon NZ taxpayers money and quite honestly I feel we all need to have an idea of what has happened both in Air NZ and of course the Sam Uffindell report.
Because if any reports involved NZ taxpayers money then we as VOTERS have the right to know.
The behaviour of National however seems to be the habit of 'Nothing to see, hear or say… Move along please…"
If National cannot be honest let alone trustworthy then that throws into doubt their credibility or worthiness of a vote in any future election.
How many times has Tauranga NOT voted a national party stooge into parliamentary largesse? It is a cruisy electorate for national.
Yes Peter, eg. anyone who voted for "Bob the Builder". Just need blue and their money!!
This is not going away for National and that will only help the other parties including Labour and Act… oh and Nicola Willis.
Are there any lawyers out there who are able to bring some kind of sanity and justice into this farce? There must be legal channels through which this absolute travesty can be addressed. If not, the outcome will be luxon and the national party will have been successful in “making it all go away” and get back to lying their way toward the next general election!
" He wasn't a bully, he beat a sleeping 13 year old with a bed post – that makes him a thug!
Savage does not know the difference obviously.
Wasn't there supposed to be a report into National caucus bullying after the JLR affair? Did that ever get released?