Parliament buildings - Photo: RNZ
A Parliamentary Service staffer has been stood down this afternoon following an allegation of assault from some years ago.
Speaker Trevor Mallard said a female staff member came forward following his interview with RNZ where he said he believed there was a rapist on the premises.
The woman made a complaint to the Parliamentary Service general manager and the matter is now an employment investigation.
"I don't want to cut across any employment or possible police investigations, but I am satisfied that the Parliamentary Service has removed a threat to the safety of women working in the Parliamentary complex.
"Because the matter is now under investigation as opposed to being part of a review, it's not appropriate into further detail," Mr Mallard said.
Parliamentary Services said the alleged incident had been previously investigated but, after a direct approach from the complainant to the newly appointed GM of the Service, Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, he reopened the investigation today.
It said the original investigation was not into allegations of rape.
The Debbie Francis inquiry into bullying at Parliament released yesterday, revealed three allegations of sexual assault described as extremely serious.
Mr Mallard said he understood the allegations were all about the same man, who has now been stood down.
He said he stood by his comments this morning that the sexual assault was tantamount to rape, but did regret the way the comments were received.
"It is an assault of a sexual nature.
"Anyone who has been involved in looking at the rape law would be aware of the definition of rape in New Zealand," he said.
Mr Mallard said he couldn't give an absolute guarantee to women that Parliament iss a safe place for them to work.
"Clearly we have a lot of work to do coming out of the review around attitude, but what I can give an assurance is that one of the key dangers is no longer in the building", he said.
Where to get help:
For female survivors:
For male survivors:
• Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.
• Victim Support 0800 842 846
• Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00
• HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700, (Wellington): be 04 801 6655 - 0
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Women's Refuge: (0800 733 843)
• It's Not OK (0800 456 450)
• Shine: 0508 744 633
• Victim Support: 0800 650 654
• HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700, (Wellington): 04 801 6655 - 0
• Help Wellington, 048016655
• Help, Auckland 09 623 1296
• Road Forward Trust, Wellington, contact Richard 0211181043
• Better Blokes Auckland, 099902553
• The Canterbury Men's Centre, 03 3776747
• The Male Room, Nelson 035480403
• Male Survivors, Waikato 07 8584112
• Male Survivors, Otago 0211064598
For urgent help: Safe To Talk 0800044334.
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.