The temperature around Parliament yesterday was at about the same white hot level as it was last year when Jami-Lee Ross exploded and pretty close to the collective gasping for breath last month that followed Jacinda Ardern stripping herself of her captain's stripes by ditching the Capital Gains Tax.

The release of the bullying and harassment review into the parliamentary workplace the day before was bad enough, three serious sexual assaults identified which were among the 14 assaults that had been claimed, 11 of them involving people still working in the building.

Creating even more unease was Speaker Trevor Mallard, who ordered the review in the first place, dropping a bombshell on radio saying that the serious assaults were tantamount to rape.


The alleged assailant, fingered as a serial predator, was still stalking the corridors of power.

You can imagine how that made women arriving at work feel.

Sounding like the leader she'd like to be, a breathless Paula Bennett summoned the media to tell them staff were feeling sick and told the Speaker he had to do something to make them feel better.

Bennett certainly didn't achieve that herself, advising women who were feeling uneasy not to wander around the complex alone.

The wily old grey fox Winston Peters claimed he had the inside oil, which did little to allay fears. He remonstrated with the media, telling them the offender wasn't a politician, was not a political operative nor a parliamentary staffer.

Challenged to leak a bit of the oil as to where we should be looking then, he told us that wasn't his job but proclaimed he's famous for making bold statements and insisted he's also famous for getting them right.

That outburst led to sideways, nervous glances to the catering and cleaning staff and to the media itself.

On this one Peters was only partially right, it was indeed a staffer which Mallard confirmed towards the end of the day, finally putting minds at rest telling us someone working for Parliamentary Services had been stood down after a complainant came forward.


Women can feel safe, the threat had left the building, he said.

The man had previously been investigated, but not for rape, and the investigation has now been reopened.

Whether it leads to the police being called in is anybody's guess which is what the day was all about.

As they're reflecting on how the mysterious day unfolded, this Government would do well to make good its promise to be the most transparent in the country's history.

The Parliamentary Service is a closed shop, what it gets up to can't be challenged through the Official Information Act, it's not liable to it.

It's got no one looking over its shoulder which is why it's been able with impunity to pay off employees it wants to get rid of.

And that secrecy has in large part led to the toxic culture the place finds itself in today.