'Straight yes' - Simon Bridges calls for PM to step down if she lied about Labour staffer allegations

National Party leader Simon Bridges said he would expect Jacinda Ardern to step down as Prime Minister if she had any prior knowledge of a sexual assault allegation against a Labour Party staffer before last week.

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The National Party leader believes Jacinda Ardern has lied about her knowledge of the allegations. Source: Breakfast

Ms Ardern has maintained that she was not aware of an allegation of a sexual nature until an article was published last week. The Labour Party officials have consistently declared they were not advised of a sexual assault allegation during the in-house investigation. 

One of the members of the Labour Party’s investigation panel disputed claims he was aware of a sexual assault allegation during the inquiry, saying at no time did the complainant make any reference to a sexual assault allegation.

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The Prime Minister talked to TVNZ1’s Breakfast about the alleged sexual assault within the Labour Party. Source: Breakfast

When asked on on TVNZ1's Breakfast today by host Hadyn Jones if Ms Ardern should resign if she's proven to have known about the allegation prior to last week, Mr Bridges said yes.

"Look, if that was proven, and that's the test for [former Labour Party president] Nigel Haworth then I suppose ultimately to answer your question, straight yes," he said.

"I think she knew. I think the evidence backs all of that up. I mean, what concerns me is that the terms of reference will be a whitewash because they don't cover the Beehive and what was known there.

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The Prime Minister said that the “complaints made to the party were of significant concern and needed to be heard in a timely way”. Source: 1 NEWS

"This is a Government that speaks on these things and if she's [Ms Ardern] going to be the boss, she needs to be the boss."

Mr Bridges said statistics showed out of 100 sexual abuse cases, only about a dozen result in successful prosecution, and while he did encourage victims to go to the police, he said it was a "rational decision" for complainants not to go to police.

"What they did expect, though, was that the Labour Party, up to the Prime Minister, would be sympathetic and would get to the bottom of things, and as we've seen that hasn't been the case."

The Prime Minister this week said she was addressing mistakes over the Labour Party staffer investigation - initiating a separate inquiry in addition to a QC report to look solely into whether the party acted appropriately. 

"There are no excuses for the handling of the complaints by the Labour Party and I will offer none," Ms Ardern said today. "To do so risks minimising the seriousness of the allegations that have been made.

"Mistakes have been made, it is now my job to address that - yes, for the Labour Party, but also to take the lessons that have been learned and ask what we can do to assist other workplaces, training institutions, organisations and others to do the same."

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National’s deputy leader told Breakfast the Government should have handled the case differently from the start. Source: Breakfast