Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern has accepted Party President Nigel Haworth’s resignation.

“In the last 48 hours I have read incredibly distressing reports of an alleged sexual assault involving members of the Labour Party,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“This morning I was provided some of the correspondence from complainants written to the party several months ago. It confirms that the allegations made were extremely serious, that the process caused complainants additional distress, and that ultimately, in my view, the party was never equipped to appropriately deal with the issue. 

“I discussed the correspondence with the Labour Party President this morning.  Whilst he stands by the statements he has made on this matter I believe mistakes were made.

“Raising an allegation of sexual assault is an incredibly difficult thing to do; for additional distress to be caused through the way those allegations are handled is incredibly upsetting. On behalf of the Labour Party I apologise to the complainants for the way this matter has been dealt with.

“I have made it clear that I want the QC led appeal process to resolve this matter. I also want to assure myself that appropriate victim support and advocacy have been put in place around the complainants and ensure the terms of reference in the appeal covers the entirety of the process.

“I have previously said I would be happy to meet with complainants, and that remains the case. I will take steps to make that offer available to them if they wish to take it up. 

“I want a justice system in New Zealand where people feel comfortable coming forward and are listened to, but I also need to ensure the Labour Party lives up to that expectation too,” Jacinda Ardern said.