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Nigel Haworth and Jacinda Ardern. Photos: RNZ
Nigel Haworth and Jacinda Ardern. Photos: RNZ

PoliticsSeptember 11, 2019

Fresh evidence emerges confirming Labour was told of sexual assault allegations on June 11

Nigel Haworth and Jacinda Ardern. Photos: RNZ
Nigel Haworth and Jacinda Ardern. Photos: RNZ

The Young Labour volunteer who says she was sexually assaulted by a Labour staffer has told The Spinoff she is deeply disappointed in the Labour president’s response, as another email emerges showing documents were sent to Labour investigators.

The woman who alleges sexual assault by a man currently employed by the Labour Leader’s office has expressed dismay at the response of the Labour Party president, Nigel Haworth, who yesterday issued a public statement doubling down on his position that sexual assault allegations contained in an investigation published by The Spinoff were never made known to anyone involved in the Labour inquiry.

“He was like a fatherly figure to these six women, and he’s let us down,” she told The Spinoff.

Her comments come as a second email has newly emerged which shows Sarah, the pseudonym by which she is described in The Spinoff’s story, sending a written account of sexual abuse allegations to the Labour Party.

In the email, dated June 11 and sent to the three members of the investigation panel, she directs them to an “attached … notes of testimony”. The attached document contains clear reference to her allegation of being sexually assaulted by the man: “SEXUAL ASSAULT occurred February 2018”.

This is on top of another email, sent on the morning of her interview to the chair of the panel, requesting that attached documents be printed. He asked her to send it on to the party official who was overseeing access to Labour headquarters, which she did. According to Sarah four copies of those documents were printed and provided to the panel. 

The Labour Party has told The Spinoff that no attachments were received by the investigation chair, and that no one involved in the investigation was aware that any of the people appearing before them was alleging sexual assault.

Sarah told The Spinoff yesterday she was “disappointed” by what she regarded as a “cowardly” statements on the part of the Labour Party. She maintained that her traumatic experience, as detailed Monday on The Spinoff, was first described to Labour at a meeting in October 2018 with Nigel Haworth and general secretary Dianna Lacy. She said this was reiterated to the investigating sub-committee in March 2019.  

“We’ve had so many email exchanges that talk about the nature of the investigation,” she said. “I’m incredibly saddened … Standing by a process you know is flawed, a process you know retraumatised and put further young women at risk is cowardly.”

She called on Jacinda Ardern to support the victims who have spoken out. “I’d like to remind our leader that she has a lot more resources than us, we can’t keep this up all on our own and we still need her,” said Sarah, who remains a member of the Labour Party.

“I feel incredibly sorry for her, but now is the time to act.”

Update: A representative for Simon Mitchell, one of the three members of the investigation panel, has contacted The Spinoff to advise that none of the attachments received by Mr Mitchell on 11 June included the excerpts referred to in the above story

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