COMMENT:

If it can happen to the Labour Party then it can happen to anyone when it comes to dealing with abuse in the workplace. That's the message Jacinda Ardern left us with when reclaiming the party as her own.

"If this can happen in my party, a party which had always tried to confront these issues very publicly, a party that prides itself in inclusivity, in being champions of addressing gender-based violence and of creating safe places for young people to be involved, then this can happen anywhere," she opined.

The sentiments may be laudable - but for a party that's failed on every front that she identified it came across as being sanctimonious. Far from being a trailblazer, Labour's disappeared in the slipstream.

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Ardern told us six weeks ago that a Queen's Counsel had been appointed to establish what went wrong and she, and those close to her, deferred all comment until those deliberations were complete. We've since discovered the QC hasn't even started work, she's now drawing up secret terms of reference for her inquiry with an input from the complainants who'd been ignored.

She won't be looking at who knew what and when. That job's been left to the party's law firm, Kensington Swan, who we're told have almost completed their inquiry into whether the Labour Party had behaved appropriately in handling the complaints and that inquiry will then be handed over to an independent reviewer.

You'd have to wonder why, considering Ardern's already arrived at her conclusion, saying there was no excuse about the way the complaints were handled.

With inquiries into inquiries, and with no assurance that anything will be made public by this Government, which promised us transparency like we've never seen before, the PM clearly hopes the matter will be buried for a while.

She says continuing to contest this in the public domain serves no one's best interest, not least the complainants who now, she assured them, have a place where they can be heard. It's her job now, she insists, to create a best-practise environment.

Of course it if wasn't contested in the public domain they most certainly would never have had a place where they could be heard and the environment would inevitably have remained the same.

And as for Ardern's contention that if the hapless Labour Party could find itself in the pickle it's been left stewing in, then anyone could...

Surely Labour hasn't forgotten it's been once severely bitten, after the Labour Youth camp debacle last year, but it seems it's still not even close to being twice shy.

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