If you think Ardern’s promised investigations into the Labour Party sexual assault allegations will unearth new information on who in the Labour Party knew what and when, prepare to be very disappointed.

Regarding the sexual assault allegations, Ardern said she won’t release the terms of reference for the Labour review by Maria Dew QC “at the request of the complainants”.

Fair enough. I certainly hope the complainants are satisfied with the terms of reference for the Dew investigation. It is a foregone conclusion that they have been, or will be offered compensation for their troubles, along with the accompanying non-disclosure agreement to prevent them from trotting off to the media for a second time, seeking the justice that has eluded them so far. Good luck to them. They’ve already discounted justice through the legal system, so in the circumstances, they should hire the best legal advice they possibly can to negotiate their payout, and then take the money and run.

The thing that interests us most in this whole business, is the investigation into the Labour Party cover-up which has been neatly omitted from the Dew review.

“Maria Dew QC has indicated that she does not believe her process is the place to take a look at what the Labour Party did with the complaints when they were received, nor the handling of them. That is fair.”

Newshub

These are Ardern’s words, giving herself and Robertson a free pass in the Dew investigation. So then, who is going to investigate the people in the Labour Party, who knew what and when, and crucially, the timing of the PTPM and Grant Robertson’s awakening?

It is a breeze for the bevvy of Labour Party legal eagles to virtually guarantee a positive outcome for the Labour leaders, in fact, it’s a done deal.

“As for Labour’s handling of the complaints, Ardern said the party’s lawyers Kensington Swan had nearly completed a piece of work on whether it behaved appropriately in the handling of the complaints.

“They will now hand that report over to an independent third party reviewer who will establish a statement of facts around the party process and what complaints were received,” she said.”

Sounds promising, right? Wrong.

“This will be based on documents rather than testimonial interviews to avoid complainants having to engage in multiple processes.”

This is the gaping great hole for Arden and Robertson to slide through. There are no documents, there is no email trail disclosing who said what to who and when.

The evidence of Ardern’s prior knowledge of the serious assault charges, and that she lied about it, came from her own mouth in a Mike Hosking interview on August 6, when she responded to his question about “sexual assault” allegations.

We heard from ‘Sarah’ in the Spinoff interview that the Labour Party did not allow complainants access to amend their original written sexual harassment complaints during the hearing, despite more serious allegations being verbally raised. The Kensington Swan review will only examine the Labour Party’s handling of these minor offences in the written documentation.

‘Sarah’ says she sent her more serious sexual assault allegation in a document attached to an email to representatives of the Labour Party including lawyer Simon Mitchell.

“Responding to lawyer Simon Mitchell’s statement made Monday afternoon, the complainant said she had records of three emails sent between March 9 and May 21 showing the allegations had been raised with him.  

The complainant said the other two emails were sent to Mitchell and cc’d in were then Labour Party President Nigel Haworth and another NZ Council Member. She said these emails raised the allegation of “rape”.”

Stuff


Simon Mitchell says he received the email but, crucially, not the attachment

“ […] Mitchell, an Auckland employment and family law specialist, issuing a statement through lawyers saying the complainant did not provide the panel with a copy of the document she read from when taking the panel through her concerns and “at no point” did she say she had been sexually assaulted or tell the panel about the events described in the Spinoff article.”

With no paper trail, it comes down to “he said, she said” and because witness testimony is excluded (for the complainants own well being of course), and leaving aside the disputed ‘unreceived’ email attachment, voila, problem solved. Robertson and Ardern will wipe their hands of the whole sordid affair and move on.

We can assume that the Labour Party will release the Kensington Swan review before the Dew review, to leave doubt on the veracity of the complaint’s claims. The Labour Party process may be found faulty, but Robertson and Ardern will slide through virtually unscathed. Ex party president Nigel Haworth has already taken the fall for them. 

Neatly done, Ardern. But you won’t come out of this smelling of roses, there’s a nasty rotten stench in the air.