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Sexual Assault Claims Hit New Zealand Govt Hard; PM Ardern Apologises

Written By Bhavya Sukheja | Mumbai | Published:


  • Labour Party President of New Zealand Nigel Haworth resigned after a 19-year-old member accused a staff member of sexual assault
  • New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern apologised on behalf of the party and accepted that it had made mistakes while handling the investigation
  • PM Ardern also claimed that she was unaware of the nature of the allegations

On September 11, the Labour Party President of New Zealand, Nigel Haworth, resigned after a 19-year-old member of Labour Party said that she was sexually assaulted by a staffer in the Parliament house last year. She alleged that even after informing Haworth and the investigating panel about the sexual assault and various claims against the man, the authority failed to act and let the man escape all separate complaints against him. 

New Zealand PM apologises 

The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologised on behalf of her party. She accepted that her party had made mistakes while handling the investigation.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “I do want to offer an apology on behalf of the Labour Party to those complaints in this case who have gone through a process that I believe has caused them harm”.

She further added that a lawyer will soon be reviewing the case and would further investigate whether Haworth and others were aware about the assault claims. However, she also said that she would not rush into any decisions on the party President's future until a final report is delivered. 

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PM Ardern also claimed that she was unaware of the nature of the allegations. According to her, she was reportedly informed that the allegations made were not sexual in nature. PM Ardern is personally looking into the case and will be ensuring that all the complaints are receiving appropriate support. A Barrister, Maria Dew, is also appointed to review the Labour Party's handling of the case and will be reporting directly to the Prime Minister next month. 

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The opposition

Simon Bridges, the Opposition leader, claims that the Labour Party is covering up. He refuses to believe that the Prime Minister didn't know about the allegations earlier. This is also not the first time the Labour Party has been accused of sexual assault. Last year at a young labour summer camp, an attendee was charged for groping and inappropriately touching other attendees after excessive drinking. The case has been filed and is now before the courts. The deputy leader of the opposition National Party has also criticised the Labour Party. She said that the Labour Party has let down its victims and has left them feeling powerless. 

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(Inputs from AP)