Labour front up over summer camp allegations

After copping a lot pf criticism over the last two days Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern and party president Nigel Haworth fronted up at a media conference today.

I think they did a good job of accepting responsibility and detailing what they would do to address the problems coming out of their one of mishandling the sexual assault allegations, and what they would do to try to minimise the chances of anything like it happening again.

They had little choice but to do this, to try to stem the damage and restore some credibility.

They have put a hold on any Young Labour events.

Interesting to see Ardern and Haworth fronting up on it today. Until now party secretary Andrew Kirton had copped most of the media attention on the issue.

RNZ: ‘We failed in our duty of care’ – Labour leadership

The Labour’s Party leadership has apologised “deeply” to the victims of sexual assault at a Young Labour summer camp, their parents and the other young people there.

At a media stand-up held this afternoon, Leader Jacinda Ardern and party president Nigel Haworth unveiled a number of measures the party was taking, two days after it emerged four 16-year-olds were sexually harassed or assaulted by a 20-year-old at a Young Labour camp.

“We understand we failed in our duty of care during the event,” said Mr Haworth. “We have failed in our duty of care in terms of support we’ve offered since then, we are very, very distressed about this.”

He wanted to “apologise deeply” to the four young people who have been so “grievously treated”, to their families and the other young people at the event.

Changes will be made to way Labour events are held, including having a “senior member of the party” at all Young Labour events, once they are resumed.

No heads would roll as a result of the handling of the Waihi incident, said Mr Haworth, including his own and that of general secretary Andrew Kirton.

I don’t see any need for resignations at this stage. Everyone can make mistakes, especially in politics and political management – and Labour and it’s officials have major mistakes here. They should learn from them. If not and mistakes like this keep happening then jobs will be in jeopardy.

Ms Ardern did not want to make detailed comments about what happened while investigations were underway. But she did confirm a Labour MP was present “generally” at the camp.

“Liz Craig was there, she had an early flight the next day so was in bed at the time this all occurred.

“I cannot say when she went to bed but she’s been very clear about the fact she wasn’t present when the sexual abuse took place”, said Ms Ardern.

She was present during some of the drinking though – there are photos of this circulating.

However she is not likely to have been responsible for organising or supervising.

She also backed Mr Kirton saying while the assaults had been handled “very, very badly” by the party, he had acknowledged there were failings.

“He is now very much a part of the party’s work to fixing the issues and the failings that we recognise.”

In statement posted to Facebook, Ms Craig said she was at the Young Labour Summer Camp at Waihi as a guest speaker on oral health issues.

“I overnighted at the camp as I was unable to get same day flights and left early the following morning.”

She attended a quiz event and went to bed early once that had finished, she said.

“While alcohol was present, I understood the organising committee had put in place measures to ensure those under the age of 18 were not drinking, and that organising committee members had been designated to oversee the evening’s events.

“I was dismayed to hear of events being raised in the media this week, as I was unaware until then that anything of this nature had occurred.”

If she left early on the Sunday morning she may have missed the eviction frrom the camp of the offender.

Senior barrister Maria Berryman has been brought in to look at how the party deals with harassment and abuse at other Labour party events.

Labour also confirmed today it had suspended all events held by its youth wing as it reviewed the sexual assault claims, one of which was now being investigated by police.

Mr Haworth said when they were reinstated they will be run by the party and not Young Labour officials. They will also be alcohol-free and a senior member of the party will be present.

Speaking to media this afternoon, Ms Ardern said she was not aware of any previous instances at events she had attended as an MP and as a member of Young Labour.

“[However], I cannot, hand on heart, rule out that this hasn’t happened before.”

Thias is far from over for Labour, but they took a big step in the right direction today.

24 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  March 14, 2018

    Lotta mileage still in this one if there’s any whataboutism.

  2. artcroft

     /  March 14, 2018

    Can’t understand why alcohol was allowed when there were minors around. Just seems like a recipe straight from Mr F**kup’s kitchen. Thirty years ago this sort of thing was accepted, and primary school camps were just an excuse for a booze up. But that was thirty years ago.

    • Corky

       /  March 14, 2018

      The reason nothing has changed Arty is because nothing has changed. The only thing that has changed is the bullshit used to hide the fact nothing has changed. We are a nation of piss-heads and druggies. If you aren’t one of the former you are a fucking Piker. If you don’t crawl home from a social event you are still a Piker. Ditto refusing a drink. Those young socialists were learning how to fit in.

  3. Corky

     /  March 14, 2018

    Unless I missed something, no one has apologised to the parents..

    I think National needs to clean shop should that be necessary. No doubt Labour trolls will be looking for dirt on those fine young Nats.. And as the Labour girl tweeter alleged yesterday , it was suggest she infiltrate the young Nats organisation. So nothing is off the table for these feral Lefties.

    Other than that, National should continue to STFU and just enjoy the train wreck.. Of course if you are a parent there is nothing funny about this situation.

    • lurcher1948

       /  March 14, 2018

      “Fine young nats”,Corky what parallel universe are you posting from?

      • Corky

         /  March 14, 2018

        The universe of finesse and discretion. Something inherent in the DNA of privileged young Nats.. Qualities that will see them control the levers of power.

        • Gezza

           /  March 14, 2018

          Paula Bennett.
          I’ll say no more.

          • Corky

             /  March 14, 2018

            Deputy Prime Minister of National. So far nothing in the media. Meanwhile back at Labour HQ.

            • Gezza

               /  March 14, 2018

              Was more the privilege, finesse, & discretion aspects I was thinking of. But say no more. Back at Labour HQ they’re probably passing out sedatives and have possibly put a single shot revolver on the table in the room Kirton has been banished.to..

  4. Gezza

     /  March 14, 2018

    The problem that Jacinda & Labour still have is that no matter how much in control & firm-telling-offly, & dreadfully earnest they are about now fronting & acknowledging “mistakes were made” – it’s too late. Everyone knows they wanted to bury this from the very first, & Jacinda’s claim she only heard about it when first questioned sounds as fake as Corky’s claim to be writing a book about another poster here. Zero credibility I’m afraid.

    Kirton has to go. God. The man’s an onvious liability.

    • He’s only a liability if he keeps making big mistakes, but this is strike 2 after this and the intern debacle (which he did successfully keep out of too much exposure).

      • Gezza

         /  March 14, 2018

        Newsroom’s probably got a ferret permanently on his tail now.

  5. David

     /  March 14, 2018

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12012658

    Trevett was a bit slow but she has come in behind her stable mate Audrey Young and poor Ardern is a victim. When we get Tracy Watkins protection run we can safely assume the top women in the press gallery have gone full maternal and perhaps should look for other work.

  6. chrism56

     /  March 14, 2018

    Labour hasn’t “fronted up”. It has just tried to put its own spin on a scandal that won’t go away. It seems that the more it is investigated, the more detail comes out, none of it flattering for the party that leads government. Especially one that has a vocal moralizing views.

  7. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  March 14, 2018

    But no mention in the MSM ( apart from one small item on John Campbell), that Dr Liz Craig MP stayed overnight at the Young Labour Camp.

    • Gezza

       /  March 14, 2018

      It’s in RNZ’s Press Conference Video above. She’s asked about it.

      • Gezza

         /  March 14, 2018

        https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/labour-mp-explains-she-went-bed-early-youth-camp-teens-were-allegedly-sexually-assaulted

        Police confirm investigation into Labour summer camp sexual assault claims – NZ Herald
        13 hours ago · Police are now formally investigating the sex assault claims at a Labour Youth camp. … Meanwhile it has emerged that new Labour MP Dr Liz Craig was at the summer school and posted photos on her …

        Labour accused of ‘dropping the ball’ on Young Labour sexual assault claims | Newshub
        6 hours ago · Young people attended the event with parental consent, but on Wednesday afternoon, Ms Ardern was unable to say whether those consent forms mentioned alcohol. Labour MP Liz Craig was …

        1 NEWS – Liz Craig MP attended the Young Labour Summer… | Facebook
        https://www.facebook.com › posts
        Liz Craig MP attended the Young Labour Summer Camp at Waihi on February 11 as a guest speaker. She said she was aware alcohol was present at the camp,…

      • Gezza

         /  March 14, 2018

        No heads to roll at Labour over youth camp allegations while review carried out – Stuff.co.nz
        http://www.stuff.co.nz › national › election-2011
        8 hours ago · Labour MP Liz Craig was at the camp and was asleep when the sexual assaults took place, Ardern said. There were photos still on Ardern’s Instagram page of the summer camp, including of attendees.