The similarities between how the Labour Party handled sexual accusations after the Young Labour camp and the complaints from 12 people about a staffer working in the PM’s office with what has happened at Christchurch City Council are inescapable.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel knew of allegations against a city councillor months before an investigation started, and the councillor was told to avoid contact with young people, Dalziel has confirmed.

The alleged victims of the staffer in the PM’s office were told to avoid being in the same room as him. This made it extremely difficult for them to do their jobs as one of the places that they were told was out of bounds to them was a place that they needed to access as part of their job.

In the case at the council, it was the accused who was told to avoid contact with his alleged victims. In both cases, the accused was not stood down from his position, which put the alleged victims under considerable stress.

In the case at the Christchurch city council, a youth group has made a formal complaint on behalf of the teenagers, some of whom are as young as 13. Allegedly three teenagers were sent “grossly inappropriate” messages on social media including a sexually explicit meme.

After claims Dalziel knew previously about the allegations, she has confirmed to Stuff she was approached in May by members of a youth group about their concerns.

During the Young Labour camp saga and the current Labour Party Sexual abuse story the authorities knew about the allegations but took a long time to take any action.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel knew about the accusations in May but didn’t meet with the group’s representatives until the 10th of June. After agreeing to ensure that the councillor didn’t attend events where there would be young people present she undertook to make it clear to the accused councillor Deon Swiggs what behaviour was acceptable. She then met with the group again on June 24th to discuss the next steps.

Here again, we hear an echo from the previous two Labour party scandals where poor process is blamed for inaction.

She explained the council’s code of conduct was an “extremely poor process” for addressing such matters.

“There was ultimately no means of resolution other than a vote of the council, and even then it could only be a recommendation.”

Dalziel said she raised the option of restorative justice, believing it may have been a “satisfactory resolution”.

They weren’t sure about what the best approach would be.

I wasn’t able to tell them what a formal Code of Conduct complaint would mean in terms of naming the young people concerned.”

[…]”I received assurances from the acting chief executive that all the relevant steps that I had asked the councillor to take were being addressed.

The next part of the saga is a carbon copy of the Jacinda Ardern defence.

On September 19, Dalziel was notified the acting chief executive had met with two young people on the evening of September 17, where she was given detailed information about the nature of the complaints.

I was not aware of all of the issues that were the subject of the complaint,” Dalziel said on Sunday.

PM Jacinda Ardern still maintains that she did not know that the serious assault complaint against the staffer in her office was sexual in nature and Mayor Lianne Dalziel has taken a similar line.

“I was advised that an independent investigator had been appointed and will start on Monday 23 September 2019.”

Yet again an independent investigation is put in place months after the original complaint. In this case four months later!

[…] RNZ reported one of the complainants referred to a single event and two talked about multiple interactions with the councillor over a three-year period.

All three were aged between 13 and 21 at the time.

[…] It included references to the physical attractiveness of one of the young people, statements such as “I miss you” and “I want a hug” and emojis with love heart eyes.

There was also a sexually explicit meme […]

It was claimed the interactions with the young people were not just on social media and involved the councillor insisting on hugs in the place of handshakes offered by the young people.

It was said the councillor had a nickname for one of the young people that made them feel uncomfortable.

Stuff