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Nelson Mail - 2021-11-26

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Dean speaks about Bridges’ remarks

National News

Georgia Forrester

National MP Jacqui Dean has issued a statement explaining the origins of a complaint which in 24 hours has seen the National Party implode, and lose its leader. Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean issued a statement yesterday afternoon regarding the initial allegation made. ‘‘About five years ago, 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,’’ Dean said. ‘‘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. ‘‘As I’m sure can be appreciated, the publicity around this has been upsetting and I ask that my privacy is respected on this.’’ Speaking to media yesterday, Bridges said the remarks made were from a few years ago at an allday caucus at Premier House. The comments were in relation to old wives’ tales about how to conceive a girl. Bridges told media he regretted the comments made, and acknowledged that some of what he said was inappropriate. He said Bill English, who was deputy prime minister at the time, raised the issue. Bridges said he apologised to both English and Dean at the time. ‘‘I regret what I said,’’ he said, adding that he had learnt a valuable lesson. He said he had again apologised to Dean yesterday for what he said several years ago. ‘‘I share her desire for a modern inclusive workplace and work environment,’’ Bridges said.

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