Labour Party Pres­i­dent Nigel Ha­worth’s res­ig­na­tion ac­cepted by PM Jacinda Ardern

Fiji Sun - - Aust/Nz News - Wellington: RNZ

New Zealand’s Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern has ac­cepted Party pres­i­dent Nigel Ha­worth’s res­ig­na­tion.

In a state­ment, Ms Ardern said: “In the last 48 hours I have read in­cred­i­bly dis­tress­ing re­ports of an alleged sex­ual as­sault in­volv­ing mem­bers of the Labour Party.

“This morn­ing I was pro­vided some of the cor­re­spon­dence from com­plainants writ­ten to the party sev­eral months ago. It con­firms that the al­le­ga­tions made were ex­tremely se­ri­ous, that the process caused com­plainants ad­di­tional dis­tress, and that ul­ti­mately, in my view, the party was never equipped to ap­pro­pri­ately deal with the is­sue.

“I dis­cussed the cor­re­spon­dence with the Labour Party pres­i­dent this morn­ing. Whilst he stands by the state­ments he has made on this mat­ter I be­lieve mis­takes were made.”

Ms Ardern ac­knowl­edged that rais­ing an al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual as­sault was “in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to do” and said ad­di­tional dis­tress caused by the way those al­le­ga­tions were han­dled was up­set­ting. “On be­half of the Labour Party I apol­o­gise to the com­plainants for the way this mat­ter has been dealt with,” she said. She re­it­er­ated that she wanted a QC-led process to re­solve the mat­ter.

“I also want to as­sure my­self that ap­pro­pri­ate victim sup­port and ad­vo­cacy have been put in place around the com­plainants and en­sure the terms of ref­er­ence in the ap­peal cov­ers the en­tirety of the process.”

She also said she was still happy to meet with the com­plainants and would work to make that of­fer avail­able to them if they wished to take it up.

“I want a jus­tice sys­tem in New Zealand where peo­ple feel com­fort­able com­ing for­ward and are lis­tened to, but I also need to en­sure the Labour Party lives up to that ex­pec­ta­tion too.”

Vic­tims re­spond

A state­ment has been is­sued on be­half of six of the vic­tims in the Labour Party con­tro­versy, who are al­leg­ing be­hav­iour rang­ing from bul­ly­ing and in­tim­i­da­tion, to sex­ual as­sault.

It said they would not be mak­ing any me­dia ap­pear­ances due to the on­go­ing at­tempts by the Labour Party to “as­cer­tain their iden­ti­ties”. They said the res­ig­na­tion of Mr Ha­worth was a step “to­wards ac­knowl­edg­ing that Labour has failed these sur­vivors”, but there was still much more work to do.

They were call­ing on the Prime Min­is­ter to make sure there were in­ter­nal changes to en­sure it “never hap­pens again” and to “fun­da­men­tally re­form” the party’s cul­ture. And they wanted an apol­ogy from Mr Ha­worth “for the han­dling of this process un­der his lead­er­ship”.

They also pointed out there was still a per­son fac­ing se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions, and ac­tion had to be taken to en­sure no-one else was harmed.

Ha­worth’s state­ment

In a state­ment, Mr Ha­worth said his res­ig­na­tion was ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.

“I’ve come to the con­clu­sion that re­gard­less of the out­come of the ap­peal process into com­plaints about a Party mem­ber, fresh lead­er­ship will be re­quired to take for­ward any rec­om­men­da­tions from that process.

“I have greatly en­joyed my time as pres­i­dent and will con­tinue in my life­long sup­port of Labour and its prin­ci­ples.’’

Labour Party pres­i­dent Nigel Ha­worth.

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