The MP who laid the complaint against Simon Bridges – leading to his demotion last night – said his comments had been “inappropriate” and not something she had wanted to hear.
The saga has led to National leader Judith Collins, who stripped Bridges of his portfolio responsibilities, losing her job as the head of the party. Deputy leader Shane Reti is now the interim leader of the party.
“Simon Bridges made remarks that upset me at the time. They were not about me, but they were inappropriate and not something I wanted to hear,” Jacqui Dean said in a statement this afternoon.
“At the time there was an apology, but subsequently it has continued to play on my mind and with the recent reviews that have occurred in Parliament the feelings have been brought back up.
“What matters to me is that all of us have a clear understanding of what behaviour we should expect in a modern workplace environment.
“Simon and I have spoken a number of times over the past few hours and he has reiterated his apology,” Dean said.
“As I’m sure can be appreciated, the publicity around this has been upsetting and I ask that my privacy is respected on this.”
Bridges allegedly made crude comments at a function about five years ago.
Bridges is understood to have been talking with a group of about three fellow MPs, including Jami-Lee Ross and Todd McClay, when Dean walked past and the Tauranga MP called to her and made the comment.
Dean, 64, complained about it at the time and Bridges was spoken to.
Born in Palmerston North, prior to politics Dean worked in education, as a radio announcer and also once hosted the children’s television show Playschool.
She was a former Waitaki District Councillor and deputy mayor, before her election to Parliament in 2005. She served as Minister of Commerce & Consumer Affairs and Minister for Small Business during National’s three terms in Government.
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