‘Auckland Labour Party’ responsible for intern scheme

The ‘Auckland Labour Party’ has now been named by Labour Party general secretary Andrew Kirton as responsible along with Matt McCarten for the intern scheme.

Kirton has also said that “it started off as a Labour Party project”. So Kirton, and one would expect Labour’s leader Andrew Little, would have known more about the scheme than they have admitted.

When the Labour intern story broke it was obvious that Little and Kirton were not being open about what they knew about the scheme.

Little has said he had heard about the scheme as an idea at the start of the year, has admitted finding out it was running as an unapproved scheme in May, and he says he stepped in when they started getting complaints around Monday last week (but there are variations in that story too).

Matt McCarten quickly became the scapegoat. He was employed (by Parliamentary Services) to work for Andrew Little in Auckland, and no campaign work was allowed. However it is clear that McCarten has spent some time (months) working on the intern scheme aimed at campaigning for Labour.

The scheme was advertised overseas in February as a “Labour Party Fellowship”, with @labour.org.nz email addresses for contact. It became ”Movement for Change” in May and changed soon afterwards to “Campaign for Change”.  With McCarten leaving his Labour job it seems there was an attempt to distance the scheme from the party.

Little in particular has talked as though it was not a Labour Party scheme.

But that position was untenable. Other Labour Party people were connected with the scheme.

Earlier this week it was reported that Labour’s Auckland/Northland Representative on their NZ Council, Paul Chalmers, had stood down. Stuff on Tuesday (27 June): Two on Labour’s intern programme may have broken immigration rules as council member stands down:

Labour Leader Andrew Little on Tuesday said Paul Chalmers, who was connected with the scheme, had voluntarily stood down over the weekend “and he is not involved in the governing council of the party at this point”.

Chalmers is still named on Labour’s website as an Auckland/Northland representative.

Little said it was also possible the party would have to cover some of the costs of the plan masterminded by Little’s former chief of staff Matt McCarten, who more recently was Little’s Auckland organiser but stood down from that role in mid May when his contract ended and was not renewed.

An eight month contract terminated four months before the election seems odd.

Also on Tuesday in an RNZ interview Little’s story was starting to wobble over what he knew and who was responsible. From More details emerge of Labour’s intern scheme:

Suzy Ferguson: Are you saying you don’t know where this money’s coming from?

Little: I don’t know any details about the organisation of it apart from what we now know, I think 85 young people here staying on a marae, and helping out in various parts of the Auckland campaign. Beyond that I don’t know, I’m not sure if the party knows or knew at the time, and we’re in the process now of getting the detail about the organisation behind it.

Suzy Ferguson: …are you saying you don’t know where the thick end of two hundred grand has come from?

Little: Well, um, no one in the party is responsible for what Matt and others, and let’s be fair, it wasn’t Matt alone, there were at least four people involved in driving this, three on the party side…

Suzy Ferguson: …while this was being done Matt McCarten was in the pay of the Labour Party wasn’t he.

Little: Um, he was the, he was my, he was the director of the Auckland office, um, which is funded out of the Leader’s office, my office, um he was working for me (a) to open and run the office and (b) to run my Auckland programme, outreach programme.

Suzy Ferguson: Ok, so he’s working for you, but you’re saying you didn’t know what he was doing, you didn’t know about this?

Little: I didn’t know about this. I didn’t know the extent to which he was organising stuff.

That didn’t sound convincing.

Even more details emerged yesterday. Newshub ‘It’s not a good look’ – Labour fronts up on intern visa problems

Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton told The AM Show it’s “not a good look,” but said as soon as he heard of the programme’s problems, he stepped in to sort it out.

“My team arrived on Tuesday to sort out this programme of Matt McCarten’s and the Auckland Labour Party.”

“It’s been a bit of an effort but we’re getting on top of it now. The young volunteers are now really excited to get out and learn about MMP environments across the country.

“It started off as a Labour Party project – not too dissimilar to what we’ve done in the past. The problem with this though was it was expanded out quite significantly by Matt McCarten with support from the Auckland Labour Party.

“[It] got out of control, the management got out of control, and that’s why we stepped in straight away.”

So after about a week of trying to distance Labour from the intern scheme Kirton has admitted that it was an “Auckland Labour Party” programme, along with McCarten who was effectively Little’s chief of staff in Auckland.

Little and Kirton appear to have been somewhat frugal with the truth over the last week.

They have either deliberately misled and lied about the extent of their knowledge of the scheme, or the Labour Party in Auckland and Little’s Auckland employee were running an unauthorised scheme without telling them anything about it and without them finding out about it until last week. Or the week before. Or in May, depending on which explanation you listen to.

A number of Labour’s Auckland MPs and candidates have been involved with the interns in their campaigning – seeLinks between interns and Labour from April.

Alongside Little’s claimed lack of knowledge of the scheme it is also curious that deputy leader Jacinda Ardern, Auckland based and with a special interest in young people and getting them out to vote, seems to also have had no knowledge of an international and local student get out the vote campaign in her own city.

Labour still have major questions to answer about who the mysterious anonymous donor was, and why McCarten and possible other Labour staffers were running a campaign scheme when their employment terms didn’t allow that.

 

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68 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  June 29, 2017

    I’m wondering if I might have actually already developed a tolerance to both the Clutha & Intern dis-eases – to the point where I hardly even notice the effects any more. 😳

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 29, 2017

      A sad-sack attempt during Question Time by Hon Ron Mark to re-litigate now-stale issues & rumours surrounding the Barclay / Clutha affair, with a series of questions to the Prime Minister, basically resembled him opening & closing his mouth to no useful purpose – like a fish thrown onto a river bank by a trout tickler – & was completely ineffective in generating any new mud for throwing at the PM.

      An equally half-hearted, half-witted attempt by Hon Steven Joyce to bring up the matter of the Labour Party failing to properly house overseas interns brought here as “cheap foreign labour” was brought to a quick end by Mr Speaker on the grounds it had nothing to do with the question he was asked.

      For now it seems both issues have become yawningly boring & have essentially lost the interest of opposing members of Parliament.

      1518 hours
      That is all.

      Reply
  2. And this lot of “didn’t have a clue”, “jobs for foreigners rather than Kiwis, “blame everybody else”” think they can rally more than 26% of the vote to deliver them to lead a disparate band of minor parties in government. It seems inconceivable to me that a thinking person could see Mr “who me, kept in the dark by my own manservant” Little as task suitable in any shape or form. A man who is:

    1) Regarded as so inconsequential by Party movers and shakers that he’s not considered worthy of being kept in a loop ..or
    2) Who is well in the loop, but prepared to bold-facedly lie to protect himself as innocent, although in doing so he confirms the above…and
    3) A man who rubber stamps employing foreigners than NZers when, according to them, NZ is full of willing Kiwi workers the Nats won’t give a chance.
    4) If the premise in (1) is incorrect nad he has control, he’s prepared to ethically fudge lines of Parliamentary expenses allocations and the multitude of rules and obligations that apply to said funding and electoral law.

    As I see it, this is all about getting the NZ taxpayer to fund their campaign and in the generated wash, escape accountability.

    This is not just any scheme associated with Labour. It is a Labour scheme.

    It was run by two Labour Party staff members and applications to join it went to the Labour staff. It is duplicitous to contend this scheme was in any context independent of Labour. It was called a Labour fellowship, was run by staff from the Little’s Office and a member of Labour’s National Council. The campaign was to get votes for Labour. They used the Labour brand both to recruit people and the successful applicants were set to work directly for Labour in electorates like Auckland Central.

    Pull the other one Labour. You’re just up to your old pledge card tricks.

    Reply
    • Nice summary. I expect a full investigation of McCartens role and the use of tax payer funding for campaigning to ensue…… But my expectation won’t be achieved unless the media do there job and demand parliamentary services conduct the inquiry – i hold little hope for a media storm to occur….

      What a complete stuff up by Labour. Shambles, complete shambles….

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 29, 2017

        That’s why little bothers me about it, tbh. How is this situation, including McCarten’s involvement with it, anything different from just about everything associated with Labour ever since Helen went off into the wide Green UN?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 29, 2017

          The Labour party is an ongoing mess.

          Goff turned up to the party conference on a motorbike that was obviously too big for him. Gone.

          Watching Shearer give a Press Conference or answer questions from reporters was excruciating – even he often looked surprised at hearing whatever hesitant, bumbling incoherent sentence he’d just had to say. Gone.

          David Cunliffe basically never recovered from being sorry for being a man. Gone.

          Andrew Little seems to spend half his time apologising for his or someone else’s brainwaves – badly.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  June 29, 2017

            My candidate vote will going to Greg Oconnor. I think he will be good electorate MP & good Parliamentarian. He’s obviously intelligent, he’s a good communicator, he’s got media savvy – & I reckon he’s his own man & won’t just go along with a silly party line or policy without arguing about it in Caucus. Hopefully!

            It’s who should get my Party Vote that’s driving me nuts. While I don’t mind Bill, National has a few MInisters I really don’t like or trust. But Labour is not getting my vote while Andrew Little is leader. That much, I know.

            Reply
          • Blazer

             /  June 29, 2017

            and how is forgetaBill going these ..days?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  June 29, 2017

              Still by Ministerial limousine apparently. I gather his drivers observe the speed limits at all times, whether he’s too busy reading transcripts of taped conversations to notice or not.

      • Labour has rabbited on for years how the Nats support exploitation, railed against self-centred unscrupulous employers , bemoaned work place conditions and highlighted landlords who furnish substandard accommodation. In one ill-advised campaign they’ve outscrooged the worst Victorian Tory employer/slum landlord.

        They have destroyed their anti-immigrant policy, labelled themselves sweatshop proprietors and they’ve given the lie to the abundance of locally skilled, under utilised and willing Kiwi workers they extol the virtues of.

        Incompetent, ignorant, hypocritical and unethical.

        Reply
        • Anonymous Coward

           /  June 29, 2017

          “willing Kiwi workers” ?
          You can’t look at this issue that way without first looking at the “intern culture” that exists in the US. We don’t have that culture here, so the idea of working ‘for the experience’ is something that , sadly, only artists understand in NZ.
          In the US, however, Interning is – for many – the first step to employment, and for some professions the understanding is that you work unpaid for up to 3 months.
          It is such an ingrained part of the culture that if it was NZer’s going to the US they would be applying for an Interns visa.
          The fact is there is a massive pool of young people in the US who are eager and willing to work for free on an internship, even better if it’s on a South Pacific paradise.

          Reply
      • I lodged a complaint with the Speaker last week about the possible misuse of taxpayer funds by Labour. I have had a reply informing me that the complaint has been passed to the Parliamentary Service to investigate. I hope that investigation is comprehensive, and that Mr Little, the budget-holder is open and transparent about how a significant sum of public money has been spent.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  June 29, 2017

          did you also ask how much..’hush’ money was paid from the P.M’s fund to the disgruntled former employee of National M.P,Todd ‘tobacco road’ Barclay?

          Reply
          • No I didn’t Blazer, because as Winston Peters and Andrew Little have both shown in the past, using the Leader’s Budget to settle staff disputes is a permitted use. Election campaigning however is expressly forbidden, as Labour found out in 2005 with the Pledge Card.

            PS – when you resort to childish name-calling, it’s generally a sign that you’ve lost the argument; just sayin’…

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  June 29, 2017

              I agree -calling the leader of the opposition….’angry Andy’…reinforces your argument.

            • Gezza

               /  June 29, 2017

              I dunno why people use that label for him. He only ever pretends to be angry in my view. And it’s not really a very convincing act. When he or anyone says he’s ‘passionate’ about anything it devalues the word. He doesn’t across as really passionate about anything either.

              I expect he’s actually a just a typical ordinary kiwi bloke whenever he gets a chance to chuck on a pair of hiking boots or jandals & kick back. But he tries too hard to appear to be someone he’s not whenever the issue is politics. It doesn’t work.

              He’s more grouchy than genuinely angry, although that label has stuck as fast as Low Energy Jeb or Little Marco. Probably about how just about everything he tries to do when he thinks he’s onto winner with an attack, or a policy announcement, always seems to either backfire – or just give more ammo to the government. And the polls.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 29, 2017

              Agree, Sir G. Just a woofer really, barking plaintively at every passing car because it’s expected of him.

  3. Pete Kane

     /  June 29, 2017

    Well briefed this morning Ms Traveler.

    Reply
  4. So, if the “Auckland Labour Party” was running this, what do Jacinda Ardern, Carmel Sepuloni, David Cunliffe (who hired McCarten as Chief of Staff), Jenny Salesa, Su’a William Sio, Louisa Wall, Phil Twyford (Labour’s campaign manager), Peeni Henare, Michael Wood and Raymond Huo, all Auckland Labour MP’s know about it? You can probably add Kelvin Davis to that list too, as the Te Tai Tokerau electorate extends as far south as Auckland.

    Labour needs to stop the butt-covering, and stop pretending that Matt McCarten went troppo on this. There is clear evidence that plenty of people in Labour knew what was going on out of McCarten’s office. It is simply not credible to suggest that Little did not have any knowledge of what the man he personally assigned to set up and run the Auckland office was up to.

    If Little can’t manage one senior employee, how can he expect New Zealand to trust him to manage a team of Ministers and a multi-billion dollar economy?

    Reply
  5. Blazer

     /  June 29, 2017

    thread number??As Nationals acolytes try to keep a non story …alive.Traveller needs to calm down,before she blows…a foo foo valve.

    Reply
  6. Ray

     /  June 29, 2017

    And here is Blazer desperately trying to hose the bush fires down.

    Reply
    • Blazer is doing such an outstanding job trolling Pete’s blog that (s)he must be in line for a promotion soon. The Labour trolls at Farrar’s Troll Farm (especially ztev and marquess) are really struggling; maybe it’s time for some fresh legs off the bench…

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  June 29, 2017

      well putting gasoline on hosing down the Barclay scandal ….isn’t helping…National.

      Reply
      • Post in a Barclay thread. Threadjacking of other issues is tiresome. Send Pete a piece of your writing of such content and quality that he can place it in his blog. Let’s see what you really have.

        Reply
  7. Pete Kane

     /  June 29, 2017

    “Blazer is doing such an outstanding job trolling Pete’s blog……..”, – rich beyond belief.

    Reply
    • I’m glad you appreciate quality Pete. At least I try to argue my case with facts (most of the time), rather than just abusing people, calling them infantile names, or generally making a nuisance of myself.

      Anyway Pete, have a nice day 😀

      Reply
  8. SteveRemmington

     /  June 29, 2017

    They have cleared the bench KS. The last impact player they brought on was John Campbell yesterday, but sadly he pulled up lame after getting tangled up with the hoardings when coming on the field.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  June 29, 2017

      are you related to the master of the mixed metaphor…Joh Bjelke-Petersen?

      Reply
      • SteveRemmington

         /  June 29, 2017

        Go away sonny, i’m above of your pay grade.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  June 29, 2017

          with grammar like that…..you must be ‘lucky sperm’ if that is indeed the..case.

          Reply
          • with grammar like that…..you must be ‘lucky sperm’ if that is indeed the..case.

            If you’re going to criticise another poster’s grammar, it’s a good idea to make sure that your own house is in order.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  June 29, 2017

              mine is historical,recognised and…accepted.

            • Gezza

               /  June 29, 2017

              Blazer’s certainly notable for always having numerous points in his…posts.

            • Gezza

               /  June 29, 2017

              🌸

  9. Pete Kane

     /  June 29, 2017

    “are you related……….” – well they certainly are in the political sense.

    Reply
  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 29, 2017

    Labour’s grotesque mendacious stupidity in this affair is exceeded only by that of the sleazy Lefty MSM journos trying to bury the story and talk up the Barclay affair..

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  June 29, 2017

      PS: Anyone who disputes the above need only look at this page and count the Barclay stories vs the Intern stories. Without counting I think the ratio is about 10:1.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/headlines.cfm?c_id=280

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  June 29, 2017

        Come on, the loony Left. I expect more downticks than that for facts you don’t like.

        Reply
      • alloytoo

         /  June 29, 2017

        I think you’re being generous about the ratio.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  June 29, 2017

          Possibly. I did check there was only one article on the Intern scandal, but heaps on Barclay.

          Reply
      • Mefrostate

         /  June 29, 2017

        Ockham’s Razor. Newspapers prioritise stories which garner the most clicks, by attracting the public interest. No lefty conspiracy here Alan, you’re barking madly up the wrong tree.

        Reply
        • High Flying Duck

           /  June 29, 2017

          Sometimes the simplest thing to do is to apply Okhams Razor…
          Disagree on this though. Media often have an agenda, and they regularly push some stories and bury others.
          The fact Andrea Vance was calling time on the intern story the day it broke (“this will blow over quickly”) gives an indication of a narrative at play.
          Even the sainted Nicky Hager gave some journalists an “opportunity to mend their ways” by not including them in DP. In other words they needed to stop pushing narratives he didn’t agree with and start pushing the ones he did.

          Reply
          • Mefrostate

             /  June 29, 2017

            So what’s a neutral tool for gauging the difference, so we can focus on legitimate stories which are being quashed, and ignore stories which are pushing an agenda?

            Because there’s a bunch of people who seem to go “this one hurts my party, must be a media beat-up” and “this one benefits my party, why is it being ignored!!!”.

            That approach is rubbish for so many reasons. I won’t list them all, but I think the worst is that it makes it almost impossible to have a constructive discussion.

            Reply
            • High Flying Duck

               /  June 30, 2017

              Pete’s Friday post on Shane Jones and the media “picking winners” is another example of what I am talking about Mefro, as is the “Balance in the Newsroom?” post – media is very agenda driven.

              It takes a diverse media landscape to provide balance, but NZ is a small market with the major players more or less in lockstep with much incestuousness in hiring of journo’s.

              As such you tend to get an agenda which is set and followed by all. Stories that don’t fit the agenda are either not covered or buried very quickly.

              In recent times this has worked in National’s favour, as invariably the media over egg everything and the public turns off. It happened with Dirty Politics and is happening again with Barclay – a story of beltway interest only that has been promoted as Watergate reborn.

              Note I am talking about the priority of reporting the news and setting the agenda.

              There are plenty of right wing voices – Larry Williams, Leighton Smith and Mike Hosking on ZB, Armstrong, Du Fresne, Rodney Hide etc to put forward a right leaning perspective. But they are commenting on the agenda that is put out there by others.

              I have to say PG does a pretty good job of putting major issues up for debate on this blog and the commenters are diverse enough to debate most sides so you are exposed to a wide range of perspectives.

              It seems easy, but I haven’t seen it anywhere else and so give a lot of credit to Pete who is doing a great service with YNZ and how he moderates it.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  June 29, 2017

          I’ll agree that the Herald obviously caters directly for the loony Left, Mefro, both readers and writers – as its comments used to make abundantly clear. However in this instance beat-up vs ignore is also crystal clear – even to you perhaps?

          Reply
          • Mefrostate

             /  June 29, 2017

            Alan, are you actually interested in political debate, or are you only here to stroke your ego and bully lefties?

            Reply
        • Why does a story based about as far from Auckland as you can get get given much more attention and investigation than a story very much Auckland centric?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  June 29, 2017

            I did the count. 13 Barclay article links, 1 Intern link. Farcical bias clearly.

            Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 29, 2017

      Ambitious, self-promoting little turd meets nasty, bossy cow. They squabble. Age & treachery wins out over youth & naked ambition. Hell also hath no fury like a woman scorned. And, really, that was all she wrote. I reckon. Moving on.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  June 29, 2017

        Good summary, Sir Gerald. Brash youth needed to take advice early but didn’t – or listened to the wrong people if he did. Fell over cliff on his own.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 29, 2017

          I’m not just another pretty face, Sir Alan.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  June 29, 2017

            Most fortunate, Sir G, as age takes its toll.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  June 29, 2017

              I felt my previous comment might have been deemed worthy of a rare uptick, Sir Alan? 😳

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 29, 2017

              Prised one out of the woodwork for you, Sir Gerald.

      • Token uptick given for Sir G.

        Reply
  11. thetackler

     /  June 29, 2017

    It “got out of control”? When they were expecti ng/planning for 100 and only 85 turned up? How can something so tiny ever get “out of control”? Every year thousands of schoolkids are mustered, fed, watered and shipped around the country on school trips and sports exchange weeks. Organised and executed by ordinary teachers. How can these bungler-people even hope to manage a country?

    Reply
  12. John Schmidt

     /  June 29, 2017

    And these people think they can run a country. Only gets worse when you add the Greens into the mix.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  June 29, 2017

      you’ve drunk the kool aid John ..it goes like this….’National are sound economic managers’…a safe pair of hands’…..and ‘look at the alternative’…..just keep repeating this nonsensical premise,ad infinitum until it becomes credible.Its worked a treat for the last few elections.No vision,bungling fools for ministers…..and the faithful are mesmerised.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 29, 2017

        No vision,bungling fools for ministers…..and the faithful are mesmerised.

        To be honest I think your problem is that too many voters have obviously looked at the major party alternatives and had a vision of bungling fools for Ministers.

        Reply
        • Pete Kane

           /  June 29, 2017

          Speaking off which, I see Mr Jones is back. If I were the Nat guy, and he interjected at a candidates meeting, and he will, I would simply ask, how is old Linda Lovelace these days? Risky move Winnie.

          Reply
  13. Gezza

     /  July 1, 2017

    traveller / June 29, 2017
    Post in a Barclay thread. Threadjacking of other issues is tiresome. Send Pete a piece of your writing of such content and quality that he can place it in his blog. Let’s see what you really have.

    14 6 Rate This

    Blazer / June 29, 2017
    I do not need instruction from you….thank you.
    …………
    I might just say, in trav’s defence, Blazer – that it’s a thankless job, but somebody’s got to do it.

    Reply
  1. ‘Auckland Labour Party’ responsible for intern scheme — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition
  2. Labour interns – follow the money rumours | Your NZ

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