Mike Hosking: PM optimistic to think assault scandal going away

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 17 September 2019, 3:54PM
Jacinda Ardern has announced yet more inquiries, this time into the assault scandal. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Well you can’t argue she isn’t playing to type.

Post cabinet yesterday, the Prime Minister arrives, makes some announcements about announcements, pretending anyone is remotely interested in that, and then comes to the elephant in the room.

And what more could you have wanted than some inquiries.

Two of them – well, three, if you count the one where by the parties law firm who has conducted one of them, then hands their findings  over to a third party based on the fact most of us would go ‘are you serious, you got your own law firm to investigate the client?’

So we have three inquires.

The QC inquiry, this is the Maria Dew investigation, seems to have been going for weeks and yet hasn’t really even started. She wants to focus on the victims, not the party, which is interesting because I would have thought so much of what the victims have gone through is a direct result of the actions of the party.

The terms are not being made public, that sort of thing will come back to haunt them.

Poto Williams is doing some work around changing the culture of the party and bringing in experts.

And Jacinda has some survival experts. She announced she would meet with the alleged victims alongside the experts. She announced this almost as though an expert had come to her and said ‘you should meet with the victims’.

The simple concept of reaching out personally and making a call doesn’t seem to at any point to have occurred to her.

Making things slightly awkward  was the interjection of a bloke called Simon Mitchell who was  part of that Labour Party panel that originally  looked into the allegations. He says the claimant never mentioned a sexual assault at all.

The Prime Minister, in a piece of irony not many failed to get, talked of best practice and what we need to do and how things must improve.

This of course being the party that had another review after the summer camp disgrace and said exactly the same thing but failed to change, as far as this case would indicate, anything at all.

Ardern’s great hope of course is this will now go away. Nothing, as they have already discovered with their record breaking number of inquiries, working groups and commissions, nothing puts a subject on hold and more conveniently out of the spot light than a good old introspective look at an issue (which, we should also note, came yesterday with no time frame at all.)

But, and here’s what wasn’t covered well, properly or really at all: where is Grant Robertson in this, what did he know and when? Same question for Jacinda Ardern, and if that information proves embarrassing, does it get released?

The release of these reports by the way is open to a lot of riders from the Prime Minister: what’s involved, personal details objections from parties and so it goes.

All of this, her great hope is by the time she jumps on the plane for Japan and New York, we will have moved on, that she won’t be standing in front of international media asking embarrassing questions. I think, at this point, that’s wildly optimistic.

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