New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has endured a rotten week, perhaps the worst of her leadership, as she confronts the Labour party’s botched sexual assault investigation. The Labour leader hoped the focus of the parliamentary week would be on mental health, scheduling a series of announcements in Wellington and around the country. On reducing suicide. More funding for those affected by the Christchurch terror attacks. New frontline services in regional New Zealand. Instead, she was interrogated all week on her role in a deepening scandal that threatens her authority. The involving saga, is at the heart, yet another sorry version of the intractable tale; the he said-she said. In fact, it’s three he said-she saids. There are the central allegations, made by several female Labour volunteers, of sexual assault, harassment, intimidation and bullying; all denied by a now-resigned male government staffer. The second, and politically charged, contest is Ms Ardern’s version of events against those of her party and her opposition. Now, there’s also a growing tide of commentary on the matter, from largely male New Zealand media establishment figures, suggesting the “beginning of the end” of Ms Ardern’s leadership. That notion came from TVNZ veteran John Armstrong, who… Read full this story
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