Labour has shown it has a double standard when it comes to “flippant” comments about sexual assault, National’s Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says.
“It’s a bit rich for Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson to publicly chastise UFC fighter Israel Adesanya for his ‘rape’ comment while Labour continues to back Trevor Mallard.
“The Deputy Prime Minister says rape is an issue that people should not be making ‘flippant’ comments about. I completely agree. So with that in mind, will he or Jacinda Ardern publicly rebuke Trevor Mallard for the way he treated a former Parliamentary staffer?”
Court documents have revealed Mr Mallard allegedly repeated his false rape allegation against the staffer in public after he was told by Parliamentary Service that it wasn’t true.
The documents also show that, despite Mr Mallard knowing he was wrong, his legal team told the staffer weeks later that he would not apologise, would not pay damages, did not accept the staffer had been defamed, would prove what he said about the staffer was true, and would defend any claim “vigorously”, saying: “the question of his reputation, and his conduct, will be very much the centrepiece of any public proceeding”.
Trevor Mallard may have apologised for the distress and humiliation his initial comments caused – following a lengthy legal battle that cost taxpayers more than $330,000 – but he hasn’t apologised for bullying the staffer weeks later by continuing to assert that he was a rapist, Mr Bishop says.
“What’s more concerning is that Labour’s MPs continue to find ways to defend the indefensible. Chris Hipkins reportedly said this morning that we’ve only heard one side of the story and we should reserve judgment until Mr Mallard has presented his. This beggars belief. Mallard has accepted he was wrong. Is Labour now saying he was right?
“The Prime Minister’s comments also show she has her blinkers up with regard to this new information. She either doesn’t know about it, or she doesn’t want to know.”
National will seek leave in Parliament today to, once again, debate a motion of no confidence in the Speaker of the House, Mr Bishop says.
“I urge the Prime Minister and her Labour MPs to reflect on their continued support of Trevor Mallard and allow this debate to finally happen.
“The behaviour you walk past is the behaviour you are prepared to accept, Prime Minister.”