Ardern to party members: “do drop me a line”, but…

On Thursday Jacinda Ardern sent an email to Labour Party members.

Dear ……….

Firstly, my apologies that it’s taken a few days to get this message to you. I know many of you will have seen media coverage around serious allegations involving Labour Party members. You may have also seen that Nigel Haworth has resigned as President of the Party. I wanted to share his statement with you.

I also wanted to acknowledge that while the Party has sought to act with the best of intentions, we also need to be an organisation that admits when mistakes have been made. It disappoints me, and I know others, that we will not have met the expectations we have set ourselves. We know we must do better.

I will continue to provide updates on the steps we’re taking, but in the meantime, support is available. If you wish to talk to someone specifically about the allegations that have been raised in the media, please contact our General Secretary Andre Anderson at [email address].

Otherwise, if you have questions or want to share any feedback, do drop me a line at [email address].

Until then, we’ll keep working on being better.

Thank-you

Jacinda Ardern

This is  personalised email, and suggests that Ardern is available for direct contact. But Prime Ministers are sent a lot of letters and emails and she can’t be expected to deal with all of them personally and promptly.

As this shows from Tova O’Brien at Newshub: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was sent email by alleged sexual assault victim

The Prime Minister says she is not in direct contact with any of the complainants in the Labour sexual assault and bullying investigation.

But Newshub was copied into an email on Thursday night, which was – sent directly to Jacinda Ardern – from someone who says they told Labour they were assaulted by the staffer who resigned yesterday.

The Prime Minister was asked if on Friday afternoon if she’d had any feedback or any response from the complainants.

“Anything, any response – generally obviously I’m not direct contact,” she told reporters in Christchurch.

But on Thursday night – there was direct contact to the Prime Minister’s inbox.

Copied in were the deputy Labour leader, Paula Bennett, another journalist and Newshub.

The email began “Dear Jacinda, I am one of the women who was assaulted….”

But Ardern said she’s not expecting any contact from complainants yet.

Ardern told the media on Friday her view and focus was getting the process right for the complainants.

Part of that process was making herself available for what looked like direct contact.

That may be the case – but if you invite feedback from complainants, checking emails, responding to them and acknowledging that contact seems key to getting the process right.

Ardern has established reputation for being very good at empathetic communications.

But she has also been growing a record of not delivering on her promises.

I don’t expect the Prime Minister to be able to respond to all personal emails immediately. She will have staff checking her inboxes, and passing on to Ardern what is important.

Passing on emails from complainants should be at the top of the priority list right now.

Ardern needs to be seen to be delivering on her promise as being an empathetic and approachable PM.