Interns worked with Labour MPs

Andrew Little and Andrew Kirton have tried to distance themselves from the Labour Party labelled fellowship/intern scheme, blaming it on Matt McCarten and as Little said ” people closely associated with the Labour Party”.

But some things don’t add up about Little’s claims of what he knew about the scheme.

The interns have been busy scrubbing any references to the scheme from their social media but some snippets have been found that suggest that the interns were working with Labour MPs in Auckland.

If that’s the case it would be remarkable if the Labour leadership and head office were largely unaware of what was going on.

Little has claimed the high ground saying it was a moral responsibility to step in and sort out the problems that were revealed last week, but he also has a moral responsibility to be up front and honest about what he knew about the scheme.

If he knew more about the scheme than he is saying then he is being evasive, some call what he is doing as lying by omission.

If Labour in Auckland were running an unapproved and unauthorised scheme that Little and Labour’s head office knew nothing about then that also looks bad.

On Q+A yesterday:

Jessica Mutch: Let’s talk about that then. How did it get out of control? Was it a lack of organisation on the part of Labour?

Little: No. This started out as an idea at the beginning of the year. I certainly became aware of it, um when it was raised with me. I said it’s a campaign issue, it’s a party issue, you’ve got to deal with it as a campaign issue.

Jessica Mutch: But it had Labour’s name on it though.

Little: And it did.

Jessica Mutch: It was called 2017 Labour Campaign Fellowship.

Little: Yeah because people closely associated with the Labour Party were involved. Without without approval or authority or any mandate they went ahead and did stuff.

The person most involved appears to have been Matt McCarten. He was supposed to be working for Little in the Labour Leader’s  Auckland Office – from last September when McCarten left his job as Little’s Chief of Staff:  Labour leader Andrew Little says his adviser Matt McCarten’s taxpayer-funded salary is within the rules because McCarten will be doing “outreach” work for Little rather than campaign work.

Little: The next I became aware was about May this year when the party was getting messages from students about to arr… within days of arriving, um, ah, the party stepped in straight away to people associated with it saying what is going on, there’s no approval for this, this is not the party thing.

The party was given assurances, “we’ve got funding, we’ve got a programme sorted out, nothing to worry about’.

Interns were being confirmed in April and arriving in mid- May:

InternChatfield

Little was at least partially aware of this but then said:

Jessica Mutch: But then there was something to worry about.

Little: There was, yeah, we got the complaints this week and the minute that happened, because we were aware that the Labour Party name was associated with it.

It’s not about legal technicalities. I take a very dim view of those who hide behind legality and say it is moral responsibility that is the most important thing.

It wasn’t just the Labour Party name that was associated with it.  There seems to have been quite a bit of direct Labour party involvement in the scheme, in Auckland at least.

David Farrar posted in Of course this was Labour’s scheme:

And the five people named are all Labour Party.

  • Matt McCarten organised the scheme out of the Labour Leader’s Office, being paid by the taxpayer to do so
  • Caitlin Johnson and Kieran O’Halloran are paid staff for the Labour Party, It’s ridiculous to think they were doing this independently and without approval of the party.
  • Paul Chalmers is on the Council of the Labour Party and is a regional chair
  • Simon Mitchell is a longtime Labour activist

To argue this scheme was independent of Labour when it was called a Labour fellowship, and run by staff from the Leader’s Office and Labour field offices, plus a member of Labour’s National Council is beyond credibility.

But information from an intern suggests that Labour MPs in Auckland were also involved.

InternPak2

InternPak3

InternPak1

From that:

“worked directly with North Shore MPs to craft specifically altered campaign strategy”

“worked directly with MPs to craft specialized strategy that matched their electorates”

This may or may not be embellished, but there is a clear indication this intern was working directly with Labour MPs in Auckland.

This is how things look:

  • Little “certainly became aware of” what he says “started out as an idea at the beginning of the year”.
  • Interns were advised of being accepted in the scheme in April.
  • Interns were arriving in mid May.
  • Little: “The next I became aware was about May this year when the party was getting messages from students”
  • In May “the party stepped in straight away to people associated with it saying what is going on, there’s no approval for this, this is not the party thing.”
    The party was given assurances “we’ve got funding, we’ve got a programme sorted out, nothing to worry about”
  • McCarten, who was supposedly doing “outreach” work for Little was involved
  • Labour Party staff were involved
  • Labour MPs appear to have been directly involved
  • Little “we got the complaints this week [he says Monday 29 June] and the minute that happened, because we were aware that the Labour Party name was associated with it.”

A number of things don’t add up, and Little is not being honest about what he knew about the scheme.

Why did Little do nothing about a scheme involving the election campaign in the crucial Auckland region despite saying “there’s no approval for this, this is not the party thing”?

Why did Andrew Kirton not act until Monday last week?

Why were Labour MPs and Labour Party employees involved in an unauthorised scheme in Auckland that the Labour leadership and party head office claim to have only become involved in  one week ago?

Why is Little claiming the moral high ground when he is not being open and honest about details of his knowledge of the scheme?

It looks like either Little is hiding a lot, or Auckland Labour has been acting independently of the Labour leadership and Labour’s head office with Little having some knowledge of it.

If Labour were to succeed in September’s election they would not only need to have  their Wellington leadership and head office working with their Auckland MPs, they would also need to work with the Green Party and probably with NZ First.

What confidence can voters have in their honesty and confidence?

Leave a comment

23 Comments

  1. PDB

     /  June 26, 2017

    Intern ‘Emily knew she would be working for Labour candidate for Auckland Central Helen White BEFORE she even got into the country;

    ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fyournz.org%2F2017%2F06%2F22%2Flabour-intern-interview%2F

    Another mentions interns being at the home of Labour MP for Manukau East Jenny Salesa.

    “She claimed one was dropped from a leadership position on the programme after allegedly taking bottles of wine from Jenny Salesa’s house after Salesa hosted a meal for them.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11880781

    Above in your post you show other interns working directly with other Labour MPs/candidates and Little still pleads ignorance over the scheme and the lefty interns that are staying are still spinning the tale that the Labour party wasn’t directly involved?

    Ardern, supposedly promoted to be Little’s Auckland & young people game-changer also pleads ignorance?

    Again in addition to the lies above why aren’t the MSM chasing who the mystery donor was & how Labour received the money from them? Why are they not questioning Little/McCarten about falsely promoting the project as politically neutral (lying) when it clearly wasn’t?

    Reply
    • Because:

      1- National is the government, so a big elephant with bigger tusks so the head on the wall means more. Valid reason for pursuing the story in my view and there is an issue here to investigate. Whether it leads to English’s downfall is pretty moot – I don’t think so and it is reaching stupid levels

      2 – Some not all, but a large number of reporters and editors DON’T want to know. This is an invalid reason for not pursuing the story in my view and a real concern. Bias writ large

      3 – They want a close election to write about and hope to make more money from it… This is invalid reason for not pursing the story as well – self interest shouldn’t be part of reason for an editorial line.

      Reply
    • Steveremmington

       /  June 26, 2017

      The bigger issue facing Labour is undisclosed donations for campaigning and use of Parliamentry funding to McCarten while arranging interns to campaign on behalf of Labour.

      That’s why Campaign for Change had to be pitched as “non partisan” to circumvent these laws.

      And Pete just blew a massive fucking hole in the side of that claim.

      Well done Pete. Great investigative journalism.

      Reply
    • Colin

       /  June 26, 2017

      Jenny SalesaMP hosted some of these students at her home for a meal. That is when she reckons that one of them stole two bottles of wine. How much booze was there and who paid for that?

      Reply
    • What is it with Labour Party people stealing wine that doesn’t belong to them?

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/767577/Labour-staff-face-sack-for-alleged-booze-heist

      Reply
      • Thanks for the memory KS. Another memory this whole mess brings home to me is Taito Philip Field.

        Reply
      • PDB

         /  June 26, 2017

        It shouldn’t be a surprise as the left is for ‘free everything’ be it higher education, an income, meals, loans etc – as long as other people pay for it of course.

        Reply
        • Keeping Stock

           /  June 26, 2017

          Yep; there’s a real what’s-yours-is-mine-too mentality there; an advanced form of Entitleitis.

          Reply
          • No problem taking taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars to return the people’s party to it’s rightful rule.

            Reply
      • Blazer

         /  June 26, 2017

        you can’t steal wine that..does belong to you…Einstein.

        Reply
  2. Colin

     /  June 26, 2017

    Jessica Mutch did a bloody soft interview of Little with no real probing questions and let him get away with avoiding the issue. Mind you she did spend Saturday night at the rugby with Michael Wood and Annette King. Mutch tweeted a pic of them together.That is not a good look.

    Reply
  3. Slightly OT Pete, but how does one embed photographs here? Is it via cut and paste?

    Reply
  4. lurcher1948

     /  June 26, 2017

    BOOM BOOM BOOM…PG keeps beating a drum for a story going nowhere, sorry rightwing snowflakes

    Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  June 26, 2017

      A nice middle of the road blog PG, you are the man,just saying

      Reply
  5. John Schmidt

     /  June 26, 2017

    None

    Reply

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