Labour coalition government endures double whammy week
Two issues have plagued the coalition government this week.
The first was the allegation of sexual assault at a summer camp run by the Labour Party, with ACT Party leader David Seymour saying on Tuesday that the rights of young people are being neglected by Labour.
"We have a prime minister who says she wants to put the children at the centre of everything - they actually put the Labour Party's political interests ahead of the interests of victims," said Mr Seymour. "And, at a time when trying to encourage people to report sexual crimes, we find ourselves with the Labour Party actively discouraging young people from reporting them, and I think that's a disgrace."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern countered that focusing on her and the actions of the party is making the issue political when it should be the victims at the centre of the discussion.
"Focusing on me, that's a political response. That's about risk management. That shouldn't have been the focus here. The focus should've been on these young people who were involved. That's much more important than me knowing, so I'm not particularly concerned about that.
"As soon as I knew though, I wanted assurances we'd done everything we could."
Now a new issue has unfolded for the government. Defence Minister Ron Mark has been accused of using the Air Force as a personal tax service.
Former Defence Minister Mark Mitchell, in a phone interview, said that the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is not to blame.
"The New Zealand Defence Force will bend over backwards to try and support the minister as best they can. And I notice that Mr Mark came out and tried to push the blame back on to the Defence Force - that's entirely inappropriate. He should be making those decisions himself."
Mr Mark has refuted the claim that he is using the Air Force as a personal taxi service. He says none of the flights have been for personal use and that the flights have included other MPs, NZDF officials and the media.
Parliament resumes next Tuesday in Wellington and the government will face the music over the allegations.