May 19, 2019

MP Darren Hughes career over following sex complaint

Lovely photo Darren, but we suspect you have not been smiling too much in recent days.

Labour party MP Darren Hughes is facing the end of his political career regardless if he is charged with sex offences or not.

NZ police are investigating a complaint of a ‘sexual nature’ by an 18 year old male, and have interviewed Hughes several times over the alleged incident.

Hughes had been drinking at several bars in Wellington with a group of people, before returning to flat of Annette King with whom he stays when he is in Wellington.

The 18 year old unidentified male accompanied Hughes home. The teenager left the address some time later and flagged down a passing police car.

The incident is alleged to have happened after a university celebrity debate the previous evening as part of Orientation Week. Mr Hughes was a guest speaker at the debate.

Hughes said in a statement yesterday that he had done nothing wrong.

Darren Hughes is a well liked and respected MP. He has been a rising star in the Labour ranks for a while now and has both personality and intelligence. Two core components that are not always found in MP’s.

All that mana counts for nothing in a scandal like this. His actions were just plain dumb for someone in the public eye.

Alcohol and lots of it. Late night jaunts around town. Taking a young man back to your flat. All this adds up to potential disaster. Even if Hughes is never charged with any offence – mud sticks. In politics it can stick for a very long time.

The public can forgive drinking indiscretions and brushes with the law. But a complaint of a sex assault especially in these suposedly more enlightened times is a step too far. That it is a same sex complainant should not make any difference but in New Zealand in 2011 it still does.

Darren Hughes is getting a huge amount of public support from his colleagues, but privately the word is he is toast.

That is a shame for the Labour Party and its leader Phil Goff. They had finally been making some ground on the Natioanl led coalition government, and this scandal is likely to dent those gains and deprive the opposition of one of their most able politicians.

Hughes held the Otaki electorate seat from 2002 until he lost to National’s Nathan Guy by 1354 votes in 2008. He re-entered parliament in this current term via the party list.