Luxon still refuses release of Uffindell report despite pressure

Source: Radio New Zealand

National Party leader Christopher Luxon is continuing to refuse to release the findings of an independent inquiry into allegations against Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell.

Only the National Party leader and president have seen the report.

Uffindell returned to his party's caucus this week after Luxon said an investigation into allegations against him cleared him of bullying behaviour beyond his boarding school years.

National says the report found Uffindell "did not engage" in the behaviour his former flatmate detailed on RNZ last month - which prompted the inquiry.

READ MORE: Uffindell faces future as 'mushroom shut in the dark' - Te Pou

Luxon has previously stressed the process has been independent and fair but will not release the report, its terms of reference or an executive summary, citing confidentiality.

But yesterday, Uffindell's former flatmate and her father said they were happy for the report to be publicly released, in redacted form.

Speaking to media in Lower Hutt today, Luxon said he always intended for the investigation to protect the confidentiality of those who came forward with information.

"As I said from day one the process would be confidential to encourage as many people as possible to participate in the investigation."

The statements given to media earlier this week were a "faithful representation" of Maria Dew KC's findings, he said.

The timing and content of the report were controlled by Dew and Luxon said he did not have any influence on these aspects.

The National Party leader would not be drawn on whether the report included details that would identify individual complainants saying he "did not want to get into it".

After previously claiming Uffindell had not seen the report, Luxon confirmed the MP had received a copy of the report and said he was not aware of this at the time of the claim.

"I wasn't aware whether he had or hadn't at that point... I was aware he'd seen draft reports that Maria [Dew KC] in fairness had shared back with him so he could respond to issues that were raised as per usual," Luxon said.

Uffindell had not yet been given any ministerial portfolios but he would not be ruled out from taking on any law and order-focused portfolios, Luxon said.

"We're confident Sam has changed, he's a different person aside from the King's College events and as I said he deserves a second chance and now he needs to work hard for the people of Tauranga."

rnz.co.nz