Allegation of sexual misconduct at Young Labour camp

Newsroom has another story about allegations of sexual misconduct, this time at a Young Labour summer camp. There are also questions over supply of alcohol to minors.

One drunk person can do a lot damage, but how it was dealt with is also important, and it seems astounding that while Labour Party general secretary Andrew Kirton was aware of it and is dealing with it, Jacinda Ardern said this afternoon that she knew nothing about it.

Newsroom: Sexual misconduct alleged at boozy Labour Party camp

The Labour Party has been hit with claims that four young supporters were sexually assaulted at one of its annual ‘Summer School’ camps near Waihi last month.

The four – two males and two females – are all 16 and were allegedly assaulted or harassed by a 20-year-old man during a wild party on the second night of the camp.

Newsroom has been told the man was intoxicated and put his hand down the pants of at least three of the four young people.

Labour Summer Schools are open to supporters of all ages including those under 18 and this year’s camp in the Karangahake Gorge ran from late afternoon on Friday, February 9 to Sunday, February 11.

More than 50 people attended the camp and about a third of those were 18 or under.

The ages of those who were allegedly assaulted has not been revealed.

According to witnesses, a large variety of alcohol was available on Saturday night and many people, including a 15-year-old boy, were drinking.

The “mountain” of alcohol included rum, vodka, cider and a large array of RTDs.

If people under the legal drinking age were supplied with alcohol, that’s another serious problem for Labour.

It’s understood the camp’s supervisor, Young Labour’s Tess Macintyre, had gone to bed around 9pm and was not present at the party.

Was no one in charge or responsible after that?

The camp’s ‘Code of Conduct’ was given to everyone who registered for the event.

It states there is “zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour. Inappropriate behaviour includes any criminal activity, as well as bullying or acting inappropriately toward other attendees”.

It sounds like a major fail on that one.

The code also refers to alcohol and sexual harassment.

“The organising committee has to pay special attention to the activities of all under 18s in the camp (especially in regards to alcohol). We do not want to prevent you having fun but must act according to the law. No Means No! Sexism and sexual harassment of any form will not be tolerated.”

And a fail on that as well.

The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, spoke at the event but was not present at the time of the incident.

Other speakers included Labour’s General Secretary, who outlined the party’s plans for 2018, MP for Waiariki Tamati Coffey on Māori development and Dr Sarb Johal on mental health.

Newsroom understands that the man involved was removed from the camp on the Sunday morning, the same day those attending heard a talk on feminism by Angie Warren-Clark – a Labour list MP and manager of the Tauranga Women’s Refuge.

She may not be very happy about the allegations.

Labour’s General Secretary, Andrew Kirton said he was aware of the incident and was currently, “working through it”.

Keeping the lid on it, until the news broke.

In a press conference this afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was the first she’d heard of the allegations.

“I went to the opening of that summer camp, I attended at the very beginning, people had just arrived so certainly none of that was apparent when I was there. This is the first I’ve heard of any such allegations but now that you’ve made them I’ll happily investigate them because that is not what I would expect of any Labour function.”

‘Happily’ is not a great word to use in these circumstances.

“Given that I’ve just heard it now, I’d just ask for the time to look into that personally.”

On whether leadership knew: “That could well be the case, I’m certainly not ruling out that our Labour Party leadership may well be aware, I’m certainly just pointing out it has not been raised with me until now.”

It seems remarkable that the Labour Party was aware of the incident and “working through it”, but that Ardern was not informed.

This is a major embarrassment, with possible illegalities have occurred in respect of alcohol and supply and the sexual misconduct.

1 News has just reported that the police were not involved in the complaints. Why not?

How Labour deals with this from now is very important. This has put the Prime Minister in a very difficult position.

UPDATE: Statement from Andrew Kirton:

This sounds like an attempt at belated damage control. I think that Kirton has a bit more explaining to do.

UPDATE 2:

So it appears this was known about publicly (on Twitter) a month ago. I have the  Twitter account details but there is associated information on that tweet thread that I don’t want to repeat here).

UPDATE 3: a statement from Ardern:

That is doing little other then repeating Kirton’s ‘assurances’. Ardern needs to step up and show leadership on this – which means taking appropriate responsibility.

So Kirton decided to try and deal with it all on the quiet himself? Very risky.

So it sounds like acted when he knew the story was coming out.

There is more of this story to come out by the look of things.

100 Comments

  1. I would be most concerned with the alcohol at a camp where underage people were. Everyone knows what happens when teenagers are away from home and they begin drinking. I am unimpressed that Labour was so careless (and that the supervisor went to bed at 9pm)

  2. lurcher1948

     /  March 12, 2018

    Yes the coalition should resign and the maori party take power, opps national with the bros in charge…you know bridges and bennett the B team

  3. Zedd

     /  March 12, 2018

    I cant believe the media are ‘demanding answers’ from Jacinda.. she the PM not the camp organiser, FFS !

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 12, 2018

      Well, she IS the PM. She wanted to be it – she is it – she can’t only be it for nice things.

      And she was at the camp. She is the party leader. It was her party’s camp.

      Their communications don’t seem to be very efficient.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 12, 2018

        Welcome to the real world, Jacinda.

        • Zedd

           /  March 13, 2018

          Do you really think Key or English would have been ‘badgered’ like this, by the media ? I doubt it !

          • Missy

             /  March 13, 2018

            Is that all you care about? How the media are reporting it, or whether the media would have ‘badgered’ Key or English.

            How disgusting, three 16 year old kids were sexually assaulted at a Labour Party sponsored event that had alcohol present, and they appear to be covering it up. I think there is more to be concerned about than how the media are reporting it, and anyone with an ounce of decency would be focussing on that rather than some petty and childish whine about the media being oh so unfair to the perfect Jacinda.

            • Zedd

               /  March 13, 2018

              NO Im just pointing out how ridiculous this has become.. WAKE UP

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 13, 2018

            They were both badgered for a lot less than this in their day.

    • PDB

       /  March 12, 2018

      She is still the leader of the Labour party and also spoke at the event – for her not to be aware about the issue when Kirton said he was working through it is not believable.

      • I think that it is believable. A lot of responsibility rests on Kirton’s shoulders, he has admitted knowing about it soon afterwards. “”The camp organisers contacted me in the days following the event and explained what they understood had happened…”

        I really don’t think Ardern would deny any knowledge today unless that was true.

        • PDB

           /  March 12, 2018

          The tooth fairy as well?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 12, 2018

            One must believe her, although it looks bad either way. But I prefer not to accuse people of being liars when I can’t know if they are.

            If she knew and did nothing, it looks bad.

            If she didn’t know, it still looks bad. Why didn’t she ?

            It makes the Labour Party look silly, to say the least.

            • PDB

               /  March 12, 2018

              Need to find out who else knew apart from Kirton to see how believable she is.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 12, 2018

              Well, we’ll never know.

              She will not come out of it well in either case. She will be assumed to be a liar (a serious allegation unless there is some evidence) or out of touch with what’s going on. I prefer to think the latter.

        • PDB

           /  March 12, 2018

          Ardern denied knowing anything about the intern situation as well – how believable was that when just about every other Auckland-based Labour MP & candidate was involved in the scheme?

          • Traveller

             /  March 12, 2018

            Pete, I’ve heard about this vis a vis various accusatory tweets above – nearly a month ago. With the beltway gossiping, her having gone to the opening, it’s pretty hard to believe she’s not heard anything at all, but I guess we give her benefit of the doubt.

            Anyway, it’s done now, I’m just surprised she made an error in saying she’d be looking into it. Very inappropriate.

            Sexual assault, alcohol. This is a police matter all round.

            • Corky

               /  March 12, 2018

              Yes, the tweets weren’t, or were, helping her know that the police should be called.

    • Zedd

       /  March 13, 2018

      Only 22 downticks.. come on youz can do better; All you Tories who think Jacinda is to blame, for this !

  4. Kitty Catkin

     /  March 12, 2018

    It’s tame by world standards.

    An English former MP was found dead, wearing black bra, knickers, stockings and suspenders, and with a plastic bag on his head.

    Now, THAT is a sex scandal.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 12, 2018

      He was working as a Minister’s Private Secretary at the time, so was still in politics. This seems a very English sex scandal for some reason.

    • Corky

       /  March 12, 2018

      I hope it was a Conservative MP. Labour MPs are more of the ‘rough and ready’ type. Like something out of the Canterbury Tales. No finesse whatsoever.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 12, 2018

        No prizes for guessing who hasn’t read The Canterbury Tales.

    • Missy

       /  March 13, 2018

      Sorry, tame? A man put his hands down inside the pants of 4 teenagers. I am glad you don’t think it is as serious as a man being found dead in women’s lingerie.

      Personally I think this is horrific, and I was disgusted at Andrew Kirton on Larry Williams referring to it as a boy of groping. Putting your hands down the pants of a teenage girl or boy is sexual assault, not a bit of groping, and it shouldn’t be ranked as a sex scandal against those from overseas.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 13, 2018

        It would depend on how far down the hands went . To me the real issue is why there was alcohol there and what people were thinking to let this wild party happen in the first place.

        The man in women’s undies died as a result of a oerverted sex act.

  5. Ray

     /  March 12, 2018

    Someone has known about this since the Sunday after the incident when the offender was sent home.
    Not telling the PM is just using plausible denial defence, heads have to roll and will for this especially in today’s #metoo meme.

  6. It seems to have been mentioned on Twitter a month ago.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 12, 2018

      Much Ado About Nothing Much.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 12, 2018

        For goodness sake, PDTs, it was a grope, not a Roman orgy.

        • Traveller

           /  March 13, 2018

          Hands down pants is flesh on flesh, it’s pretty shocking. It’s not a brush against – a feel up. 4 people? All underage! Alcohol supplied by Party! Did parents know they were sending them off to a free for all booze-up? Would you be expected to have been told by now? I know Labour would like 16 year olds to vote, but until then they’re still kids. I’m trying to imagine what method they used to get kids to shut up.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 13, 2018

            Did they, or did the kids themselves clam up because they didn’t want their parents to know that theyd been drinking at a ‘wild party’ that (surprise) got out of hand ?

  7. PartisanZ

     /  March 12, 2018

    I honestly doubt if there’s anything new about multiple and various organisations plying people with alcohol, including underage young people. Alcohol has a major ‘loyalty-inducing’ intoxicant value. Like #metoonz, I hope this brings forth many more revelations …

    What’s new here is the reporting of it, and especially in our current environment of a) increased reporting of sexual harassment coincident with alcohol supply and/or consumption abuse b) increased awareness of both the general and specific harms caused by alcohol in our society, including its aggression and sexually abusive dis-inhibition traits, c) increased awareness of the extent of sexual harassment in society thanks to #metoo etc, and d) the ‘out to get you’ nature of the attack media …

    Doesn’t make it right. Doesn’t make it unworthy of investigation. Just needs to be kept in perspective. Could’ve been Boy Scouts, Girl Guides or any number of Rugby and other Sports Clubs … If an offence has been committed the Police should be involved …

    This story, however, atop employment law “advice from Treasury” and speculation the economy will founder under Labour tax and business policies, might finally put pay to the absurd idea that the media are favouring the new government …

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 12, 2018

      If people are plyed with drink, they don’t actually have to drink it. It’s a copout to say that someone was drunk because they were given alcohol. Not that that means that it should have been there at all.

      • PartisanZ

         /  March 12, 2018

        Impossible to underestimate both elder and peer pressure in such circumstances Miss Kitty.

        And equally easy to overestimate a young person’s ability to decline or refuse …

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 12, 2018

          True, but the fact remains that nobody can force anyone else to drink. It’s the drinker’s own responsibility in the end.

          • The reason they’re called children is because we need to care for them and they have insufficient life experience or judgement to be in adult situations and cope, let alone be full of booze and do so.

            I had friend who got herself preggers in the 6th form and got married, I went to her wedding. I was also a year ahead so only 16 at time. These older (20ish) blokes took delight in aiding me to find my perfect drink. Have you ever tried Bacardi and Coke? What about Brandy and Dry? Try a Gin and Tonic. The story is much longer involves puking and memory loss……

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 13, 2018

              Questions need to be asked about why a ‘wild party’ took place at a Labour Party camp in the first place.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 13, 2018

              One forgets that the females as silly, helpless victims of men who know what they are doing mindset is so prevalent.

              But it is a fact that if people drink,. they are doing so because they want to , for whatever reason and not because someone’s forcing down their throats.

  8. I’ve added a statement from Ardern to the post – just a repeat of Kirton’s with no assurances proper action might belatedly be taken. Why weren’t the police involved? Why aren’t they involved now?

    • chrism56

       /  March 12, 2018

      PG
      Not belittling the potential allegations at all, but I thought the police can’t get involved about an alleged incident at a private function unless they have reasonable proof a serious crime was committed or there was a complaint. From what has been reported so far, it seems neither of these have occurred.
      However, having alcohol present for so many underage people is just a recipe for disaster as well as probably being illegal. And if there were people under 18 there, where were the chaperones? You can go back in the files to see how many times there have been calls for heads to roll because of incidents less serious than this at school balls.
      For Labour, it is all a mess of their own making. Schadenfreude.

      • PartisanZ

         /  March 12, 2018

        Yes, many calls for heads to roll … and how many actually have rolled?

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 12, 2018

          It’ll be a he said/she said thing. If someone had been raped, it would, of course, have been a police matter.

          • PartisanZ

             /  March 12, 2018

            Agreed, although someone could still lay a complaint of something like sexual assault …

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 12, 2018

              Not much of an assault, if it happened, it was an attempt at a grope. I am not sure that it would warrant calling the police.

            • Serious enough for this:

              “The camp organisers contacted me in the days following the event and explained what they understood had happened, and the action they’d taken in response to it.

              “Those included having clear processes in place such as a dedicated welfare phone line and designated support people.

              “We have also offered further, professional support to those involved.

              “I have subsequently banned the perpetrator from any future Labour Party events,” Kirton said in a statement.

              I doubt those measures would have been put in place for not much of an assault – the allegation is that four teenagers were “sexually assaulted”.

            • PDB

               /  March 12, 2018

              Though apparently not serious enough for even parents to be informed…

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 13, 2018

              Mmmm. Good point.The victims didn’t tell their parents.

              I was surprised that so many people disagreed with me that alcohol should not have been there.

    • PartisanZ

       /  March 12, 2018

      Hah! Yes. Meantime Young Nationals and Young ACT camps and conferences have been festivals of Temperance and Moderation …

      And Young Conservative Camps gatherings of Bible-Study and Prayer.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 12, 2018

        I have never heard of anything like this at any ACT do.

        • PartisanZ

           /  March 12, 2018

          A matter of reporting … possibly a factor of imbibed loyalty?

          We shall see …

          IMHO, the Western world as we know it is a socio-political economic greed engine lubricated by alcohol …

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 12, 2018

            Hardly. One would hear. I haven’t heard that there has ever been an ACT youth camp, anyway.

            That is your opinion, but it’s a minority one.

            • PartisanZ

               /  March 12, 2018

              … hence my use of the word “conferences” Miss Kitty …

              “One would hear” … Yeah … like Labour Party members and supporters heard about Rogered’s plans to shaft them in the lead-up to 1984 …?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 12, 2018

              Shaft is your slanted word, and as he wasn’t going to do this literally there is no connection,

              One would be a brave groper to do it at a public convention.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 12, 2018

              You said ‘camps and conferences’.

      • Jonny

         /  March 12, 2018

        The Young Nats have always been consensual in their sexual activity. Plus they don’t stand at a pulpit as paragons of virtue as the left do.

        • PartisanZ

           /  March 12, 2018

          @Jonny – “The Young Nats have always been consensual in their sexual activity. ”

          And you know this how exactly?

          “Plus they don’t stand at a pulpit as paragons of virtue as the left do” …

          Well, except insomuch as they “have always been consensual in their sexual activity” eh?

          At which “pulpit” and who proclaims the Left “paragons of virtue”?

          • PartisanZ

             /  March 12, 2018

            Sooner a paragon of virtue than a paragon of pragmatism …

    • Tat Loo is proving a very unfaithful acolyte these days is he not?

  9. duperez

     /  March 12, 2018

    I hope the story is got to the bottom of. I hope it comes out that any male stupid enough, pissed enough, lacking in control enough, nasty enough to have done what is claimed, turns out to be a rugby player.

    In such a case the frothing and hysteria will be a thing of rare beauty if the initial responses are any indication. Steve Tew should be preparing his notes now just in case.

    Even better the quinella would really be struck if the person is an overstayer. What about a quadrella with him a Muslim?

    Ardern has talked of inquiries about and measures to address mental health issues. They’re certainly needed.

  10. Kirton appears to have been trying to spin his actions.

    • PDB

       /  March 12, 2018

      Kirton was the one that tried to cover up for Labour over the intern disaster as well so has form.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 12, 2018

        I would hardly think that this would call for sex abuse counselling. It would be an unpleasant experience, but hardly in the same league as rape and incest.

        • adamsmith1922

           /  March 12, 2018

          You really do have a skewed world view

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 12, 2018

            That you can deduct from one sentence about one particular case ? Hardly ‘a world view’ unless one has a very narrow idea of the world.

            • adamsmith1922

               /  March 12, 2018

              No, I read the thread, and your several comments.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 12, 2018

              You’re entitled to your opinion, I suppose.

              I prefer to think that rape and incest are more serious than a wandering hand.

            • adamsmith1922

               /  March 12, 2018

              Of course I am, thought clearly you do not agree

        • Gezza

           /  March 12, 2018

          Nonsense. These days if someone calls you a rude name it’s assumed you’ll need intensive counselling to deal with it if you’re used to getting a certificate for putting your chair in at school.

          • PartisanZ

             /  March 12, 2018

            Counselling or not is purely a factor of individual sensibility and sensitivity …

            It simply needs to be offered and the offer understood …

            • Gezza

               /  March 12, 2018

              One hopes the perp gets it too.

            • They are likely to be squirming somewhat at this stage, but they have inflicted serious damage on the Labour Party (as well as potentially some or al of the alleged victims, who are likely to also be very concerned about where the publicity may now lead due to it not being dealt with competently).

              The perp should front up and take responsibility, and take some of the heat off the party and off Ardern.

            • Gezza

               /  March 12, 2018

              Maybe the perp’s too … um … close … to someone important to be identified too quickly, if ever?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 12, 2018

            I once worked in a Special Needs Unit, and the pupils were all given certificates for – well, not quite putting a chair in, but for nothing meaningful. Even those pupils were not silly enough to think that this meant anything, as was obvious from their demeanour when they collected their ‘awards’ They knew that these were specious, although they wouldn’t have known that word.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  March 13, 2018

          Do you seriously think a person forcibly putting their hands on a 16 year old’s genitals is not a big deal? Not traumatic to the victim?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 13, 2018

            Nobody has said that that was what happened, that is your own interpretation.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 13, 2018

              That is exactly what they said happened:
              “It is alleged a 20-year-old man sexually assaulted four teenagers, all aged 16, including putting his hands down the pants of at least three of them”
              What is your interpretation of sexual assault involving putting hands down people’s pants Kitty?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 13, 2018

            Where did it say that he forcibly put his hands on their genitals ? He’d have had to pull their clothes off to do that.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 13, 2018

              I’m not sure where you think a sexual assault involving hands down pants would end up, but it seems pretty obvious. Assault = force. Hands down pants strongly suggests where his hand went.
              You are surmising the tightness of clothing being worn would have prevented what happened, And yet it has been bad enough for one of the victims to escalate the issue when not enough was done.

  11. PDB

     /  March 12, 2018

    I call bullshit on Ardern not knowing – check out the tape of her being told for the ‘first time’ – the very first thing she does is distance herself by making a point of saying she was only there briefly at the beginning of the event (she reiterates this a few times). Surely if being presented for the first time with such an allegation you’d question exactly what the reporter was referring to, seek further clarification as to the nature of the incident/s etc. Everything she said looked like she had prior knowledge of the incident & her answers looked rehearsed. Body language is poor, especially when she tries to change the subject towards the end of the video.

    No doubt she wouldn’t have wanted such an incident to detract from her big pacific island visit.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/national-video/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503075&gal_cid=1503075&gallery_id=190039

    • I have seen the video now, and I did think it odd how she reacted (hardly at all) to what really should have been a shocking revelation.

      • PDB

         /  March 12, 2018

        Very unusual response – I’d be so taken aback from such a question I’d probably ask the reporter to repeat what he said and explain himself.

        • Gezza

           /  March 12, 2018

          In it up to her neck, imo. That was no revelation at the Presser.

          • Gezza

             /  March 12, 2018

            Part 2 of actually a long & detailed press conference – questions on the camp shenanigans start from 0.37:

            • Gezza

               /  March 12, 2018

              Aaand … only the first question there … then she deals with others, and it’s incomplete – nothing to show how & when the rest of the responses in the Herald clip came up.

            • “Given I’ve just heard it now” that doesn’t ring true at all

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 13, 2018

      Well, I would imagine that she knew about it before the press conference, I didn’t take the ‘just heard it’ as literally as that. But she has been well and truly dropped in it and hasn’t handled it well.

      I would think it highly unlikely that she had no idea what the press conference was going to be about and didn’t realise what they were going to ask her.

  12. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 12, 2018

    Labour spinning like a top. Party time indeed. Who was the drunk official present? Who was the perp? When did Saint Jacinda know? Hours of fun ahead to enjoy the sanctimonious Left with their heads up their backsides.

    • PartisanZ

       /  March 12, 2018

      … and to ‘enjoy’ the collateral damage … ?

      Let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse …

    • Gezza

       /  March 12, 2018

      Only if it stays on the front page.
      (Are you still under your bridge?)

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 12, 2018

        Haven’t seen s bridge all day. Have you stopped killing people yet?

        • Gezza

           /  March 12, 2018

          Nup. Booking flights right now.

        • Gezza

           /  March 12, 2018

          What times will you be home tomorrow?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 12, 2018

            I was ignoring that provocation but now I’ll have to get the police to chase you.

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