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Ardern maintains she was assured complaint against Labour staffer wasn't sexual assault allegation

The Prime Minister today has maintained she sought assurances from the Labour Party five-weeks-ago over whether a complainant had made an allegation of sexual assault against a party staffer.

"The reassurance I was given was that that had not been the case," Jacinda Ardern told media this morning. 

"I was told that no complainant had come to them and claimed they’d been sexually assaulted ... we've seen that countered allegation on Monday. Since that time, I've sought again to act for a second time in the wake of that.

"From my position, harm has been done here. We need to respond to that, accept it, offer that apology and put in place a process that means this never happens again."

Yesterday, Ms Ardern offered an "unequivocal apology" to the complainants who made allegations against a Labour Party staffer, admitting harm was caused by the process of an investigation by the party. 

She told media today that she first saw details on September 9 that a complainant had claimed told the Labour Party they had been sexually assaulted. 

When Ms Ardern went to the Labour Party last month, she said despite being reassured the allegations did not include claims of sexual assault, "it was still clear to me that we needed a third party to come in to work alongside those complainants and that was why a QC was brought in at that time".

"We needed to make sure that this never happens again."

The Prime Minister's comments today come after Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the handling of the sexual assault allegation levelled at a party staffer.

Ms Ardern said the party and Mr Haworth stood by his statement on Monday that said the "serious allegation of sexual assault ... was not provided to the president and acting general secretary at a meeting in the Wellington Central Library or subsequently to the Labour Party Investigation Panel".

Today National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett called on the Government to bring in victim specialists, "bring those people in to truly look at this and talk to the victims and get the right response".

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Jacinda Ardern said she went to the party five-weeks-ago when she saw speculation in the media. Source: 1 NEWS


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