Ardern on assault: 'Monday the first time I saw details'

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was willing to meet complainants and ensure support

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was willing to meet complainants and ensure support

"I have enjoyed my time working in Parliament, but today have made the very hard decision to resign because of the stress of the situation, and my wish not to be a distraction to the work of the government", the staffer said in a statement.

In the most serious scandal Prime Minister Ardern has faced since she took office in late 2017, the leader admitted "mistakes were made" after a Labour Party volunteer accused a senior party staffer of assault previous year.

Five weeks ago when media first reported sexual assault allegations, Ms Ardern said she sought assurances from the Labour Party. "I was informed in the very beginning that the allegations made were not sexual in nature", she said.

According to allegations published on the Spinoff website on Monday, the staffer is alleged to have seriously assaulted a 19-year-old Young Labour member at his home early last year.

She said she was told by the party that "no complainant had come to them and claimed to them they'd been sexually assaulted".

A Queen's Counsel is now completing a report on the matter.

Labour Party president Nigel Haworth stepped down yesterday after a conversation with Ms Ardern.

The woman, who has not been publicly named, disputed this, providing documents she said supported her version of events.

Complainants issued a statement that said the resignation of Mr Haworth was a step "towards acknowledging that Labour has failed these survivors", but there was still much more work to do.

Senior Labour MP and minister Grant Robertson maintained he had acted appropriately throughout the sexual assault investigation into complaints against the Labour staffer.

Robertson has also refused to say when he was told about sexual assault claims.

The staffer said he was now taking part in the new review of the whole complaint process and would continue to do so, "having been assured that this process will be fair to all parties".

"Raising an allegation of sexual assault is an incredibly hard thing to do - for additional distress to be caused through the way these allegations are handled is incredibly distressing", Ms Ardern said in a statement.

She said the terms of reference for Dew's review were being finalised with input from complainants, and they needed to be wide enough to allow Dew to cover what needs to be covered to the satisfaction of the complainants.

A complaint had been laid with Parliamentary Service, but it was not related to the staffer's employment.