July 23, 2020, 11.00 AM

Falloon hasn't commented on the allegations, other than to say he apologized for making unspecified mistakes, and had been getting mental health counseling.

In both cases, the allegations were first sent to the leaders of the opposing political parties, suggesting there may have been an element of politics at play.

But the developments also suggested that behavior which may have previously been accepted or kept quiet in the New Zealand parliament would no longer be tolerated.

Ardern said she learned about the allegations on Tuesday afternoon and questioned Lees-Galloway about them in the evening. She said he'd shown a significant lack of judgment over the course of a year.

“His actions have ultimately led me to lose confidence in him as a minister,” Ardern said.

Ardern said that as she understood it, the relationship had ended several months ago.

She said the parliament had long had a culture and an environment that needed improving. But she stopped short of saying the blame lay with male lawmakers.

“We all have a role to make sure that we maintain standards in this environment,” Ardern said. “I'm not going to start casting judgments on specific genders here.”

Opposition Leader Judith Collins said she wrote to Ardern on Wednesday saying the culture of parliament needed to change and the two of them should work out how to achieve that.

“Parliament and these precincts are not always a safe working place. And it's not OK,” Collins said. “And I believe she and I have an opportunity to fix it.” 

(Writer: Nick Perry) 

Source: https://apnews.com/e93e8b178c57b3b297c77b2365311169

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