National | Marama Davidson

National leadership mess a reminder to focus on victims' voices

Today marks White Ribbon day and advocates for preventing violence against women arrived at Parliament to mark the occasion by gifting survivor stories to the Minister for Family Violence and sexual violence, Marama Davidson.

But, in light of the National leadership mess, the minister says the voices of victims should always be heard and kept to the forefront.

Today, however, the victim's voice was the least part of a fierce fight, though apparently the cause of leader Judith Collins' sacking of Simon Bridges, which sparked the leadership spill.

Five years ago, Simon Bridges made comments alleged to be of a sexual nature in earshot of National MP Jacqui Dean.

In a statement, Dean said that everyone needed a clear understanding of what behaviour should be accepted in a modern workplace.

“At the time there was an apology but subsequently, it has continued to play on my mind and, with the recent reviews that have occurred in Parliament, the feelings have been brought back up.

“Simon and I have spoken a number of times over the past few hours and he has reiterated his apology."

Pro-women or political?

Last night Judith Collins announced Simon Bridges would lose his portfolios as a result of the comments he made five years ago and that under her leadership "the National Party will not tolerate harassment and intimidation of any person".

University political lecturer Dr Lara Greaves says some people will say that Collins tried to push a pro-women agenda and some will say it was a political move.

But Davidson argues that it doesn’t matter the time or place - concerns and voices of victims about inappropriate conduct should be front and centre.

“I know first hand that it is difficult to ever feel comfortable to raise your hand and ask for accountability."

Whilst Greaves won't say who she thinks should take over, she sees a mammoth task ahead for whoever takes the party over.

“They’re going to face a really tough challenge in uniting the party and they’re going to face a really tough challenge that will come down to MMP.”