Owen Glenn Inquiry member Marama Davidson says she is not prepared to walk away from the inquiry if it means information provided by victims of abuse is let out of safe hands.
Davidson, the Green Party candidate in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election, and Gisborne District Councillor Manu Caddie have joined a chorus of voices calling for Glenn and inquiry chairman Bill Wilson to step down as the fallout continued from revelations that Glenn had been charged with physically abusing a woman in Hawaii in 2002.
Since the end of May at least 13 of the think tank members of the inquiry have resigned for a variety of reasons, with others now considering their futures.
In relation to the Hawaii incident, court documents show Glenn offered a plea of no contest when the case came before the courts in 2003. That means the charge was not contested or admitted.
Glenn was put on probation and the charge was dismissed in 2004 when the probationary period ended. Glenn has said there was no truth to the abuse allegation.
Davidson said she felt a "strong sense of responsibility to the people who shared their stories" with the inquiry.
"If I resign then I walk away from that responsibility and I am not prepared to do that," she said.
Caddie said there were a number of factors that would influence his decision whether to stay or go.
"If the inquiry has any future, changing the name and board membership is required," he said.
"Sir Owen and Bill Wilson will need to give up their places on the board to give the initiative some much-needed credibility with the public and a fresh start.
"I believe Sir Owen has had the best intentions and is committed to the inquiry goals but needs to step aside if he wants to see the process continue in any credible way.
"Think tank members had concerns with the appointment process for the new board and have not been impressed with Bill Wilson's handling of the issues that have arisen."
Caddie said Wilson should be replaced by either the inquiry patron, Dame Cath Tizard, or think tank member Kim Workman, who is midway through conducting a review of the inquiry's safety procedures.
He said it also seemed sensible that the name of the inquiry was changed "to distance it from any suggestion Sir Owen may have influence over the process which he has committed to fund".
"The victims of abuse deserve a proper independent investigation," Caddie said.
"The inquiry set ambitious goals and those of us who agreed to be part of the inquiry supported the goals. It remains to be seen if the inquiry can continue and we will make our decisions based on any changes to the structure and information provided."
One who did go yesterday, Anton Blank, said he expected the inquiry would now fold.
"I think the inquiry will have trouble surviving and that's really sad," he said.
Staying: Dr Nicola Atwool, Dr Denise Wilson, Kim Workman
Undecided or haven't commented: Manu Caddie, Marama Davidson, Dr Ian Lambie, Kirimatao Paipa, Janfrie Wakim, Dr Te Kani Kingi, Dr Mandy Morgan, Bentham Ohia
Resigned since late-May: Carol Hirschfeld, Dr Susan Morton, Dr Annabel Taylor, Dr Huhana Hickey, Anton Blank, Yvonne Crichton-Hill, Dr Vivienne Elizabeth, Dr Teuila Percival, Neville Robertson, Janet Fanslow, Nicola Gavey, Catriona MacLennan, Rachel Simon-Kumar.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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