Labour appoints Rob Salmond as new general secretary

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The Labour Party has appointed a new general secretary after the previous one was managed out of the job.

A Labour Party election rally at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington on 11 October 2020.

A Labour Party election rally in October, ahead of the election. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

Andre Anderson was appointed to the job in October 2018 but RNZ understands he left the role some months ago and his assistant, Dianna Lacy, has been acting in the job since.

Today the party appointed Rob Salmond, who has previously worked in the Prime Minister’s office and the Labour leader’s office.

Rob Salmond

Rob Salmond Photo: Supplied / polity.co.nz

Party president Claire Szabó says the Labour council unanimously voted in favour of Salmond.

Andre Anderson was general secretary during the period in which it was alleged a Labour member had sexually assaulted another.

There were many discrepancies between what the complainants were saying publicly and what party officials said happened.

An inquiry by a Queen’s Counsel last year found there was insufficient evidence to back up the allegation.

The party’s mishandling of the complaints and the fallout cost former party president Nigel Haworth his job.

The staffer at the centre of the allegations also resigned – but has always denied the sexual assault allegations.

In a statement, Szabó said it was “deeply heartening to have attracted a person of Rob Salmond’s values and capabilities”.

“In making this appointment, the New Zealand Council were clear and ambitious in their aims. We sought a candidate with unquestioned technical skill in all aspects of management.

“Someone with a well-honed political radar to guide the Party through inevitable twists and turns. A strategist with their eye focused firmly on the future. And a leader whose Labour values will continuously shape Party culture into a safe and welcoming space for all,” she said.

“Rob is known for his care in supporting colleagues in all the teams he has been part of. Staff described Rob as ‘a visionary and a team player’, ‘a great listener’, and someone with ‘incredible insight and knowledge’.”

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