Little and Labour MPs with interns

Andrew Little appears to have misled and not been honest about the extent of the Labour Party involvement with the Labour Party Fellowship scheme, also known as the intern scheme, Movement for Change and Campaign for Change.

Little said “people closely associated with the Labour Party were involved. Without without approval or authority or any mandate they went ahead and did stuff.”. But he admits:

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.”

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”.

But it is obvious it was a party thing. And if the party stepped in straight away then Little hasn’t admitted it, he has denied it.

Some of the interns say in LinkedIn profiles they have been in the scheme since April. See Links between interns and Labour from April.

The right approach was once we got notification of complaints, or the party didn’t, I was told about it, I said we get up there straight away. The general secretary Andrew Kirton and his team did an outstanding job, he was there on Monday…

The party (Little and general secretary Andrew Kirton) didn’t step in until Monday 19 June.

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.

There is a moral responsibility to be truthful and not to mislead. It was not just the Labour Party name that was associated with it.

Little, Jacinda Ardern, other Labour MPs, and Auckland candidates were associated with it.

The week before Little claimed to have acted immediately:

LabourInternLubek1

As well as interns, included in the photos:

  • Labour leader Andrew Little
  • Labour deputy leader Jacinda Ardern
  • MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis
  • Labour candidate for Rodney Marja Lubeck
  • Labour candidate for Northcote Shanan Halbert
  • Labour candidate for North Shore Romy Udanga
  • Labour candidate for East Coast Bays Naisi Chen

LabourInternsCandidates

That shows a Labour party banner, interns (with Movement for Change ribbons around their necks), and Labour candidates Halbert, Lubeck and Udanga.

@youngnzlabour and MPs @raymondhuo and @Damien O’Connor liked the tweet.

Shanan Halbert retweeted the tweet. “Shanan Halbert has been selected as the Labour Party candidate for Northcote in the 2017 Election. Authorised by Andrew Kirton, 160 Willis St, Wellington.”

He also tweeted:

Little wasn’t taking responsibility for the Labour Fellowship Scheme. He was avoiding responsibility for the scheme prior to last Monday, but he, Ardern, Labour MPs and Labour candidates were all associating with the interns.

Like this:

LabourInternsLubek2

Little needs to show actual leadership and take full responsibility for and some ownership of Labour’s involvement in the scheme. Some questions could do with answers.

Why did Little say that in May he discovered “people closely associated with the Labour Party were involved  without approval or authority or any mandate” but say he took no action until 19 June?

Why did Matt McCarten suddenly announce on 11 June that he had ceased working for Little in May?

Why did Little say the first time he did anything with the interns was on Monday 19 June when he attended a Labour Party event with the interns the previous week?

Why did Little say of the intern scheme “this is not the party thing” when it is obvious that the interns have been working with Labour candidates in Auckland in a number of electorates?

There’s nothing wrong with using foreign students to assist with campaigning (apart from a bit of hypocrisy), but there does appear to be something wrong with Little avoiding taking responsibility for a scheme that had some minor issues with intern complaints.

The much bigger issue is what Little and Labour appear to be trying to hide.

McCarten has been dumped on by Little, Kirton, and by Clayton Cosgrove – seeCosgrove bus follows Labour over McCarten.

Certainly McCarten seems to have driven the scheme, but it has been suggested that he is a “voluntary scapegoat”.

His sudden departure from the Labour Party job was before the intern complaints happened – he says it was in May. Why did he leave, whether it was in May or in early June when he announced it?

McCarten launched the supposedly non-partisan ‘Campaign for Change’ that also involved Mike Treen and according to himself Martyn Bradbury, people associated with the far left and not with Labour.

This was launched on Saturday 17 June – New Zealand launches ‘Campaign for Change’.

Little says he stepped in to deal with problems two days later.

I don’t think Little has been straight on Labour’s involvement in the fellowship/intern scheme, with his own knowledge of the scheme, and what went wrong that led to McCarten’s sudden departure from his Labour job and sudden intervention by the Labour leadership and head office even though Little, MPs and candidates were involved with the interns and they were clearly involved with the Labour Party in far more ways than using the name.

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Cosgrove bus follows Labour over McCarten

On Newstalk ZB Clayton Cosgrove has followed the Labour party bus driving over Matt McCarten as he cops all the blame for the intern scheme.

No sooner than the National Party had their, you know, let’s say drama or debate last week, some would say it’s a little more serious than that, but Labour then had the situation with the foreign students coming in here.

Now Clayton, I’ll start with you this time, how did the Labour Party not know about the conditions?

Clayton Cosgrove: Oh well as I understand Matt McCarten, who used to be employed by the Labour Party…

It’s unclear when his employment ceased but McCarten says in May but he didn’t announce it until 11 June. There seems to be no doubt that McCarten was purportedly working for Labour while he was working on this scheme.

… came up with one of his you know you beaut ideas and Matt’s sort of characterised as a guru, god only knows why, he destroyed the New Labour Party, he destroyed the Alliance and everything he touches turns to the proverbial.

More colourful than others in Labour but joining in the ‘blame Matt’ chorus.

But nonetheless he came up with this idea, he was the author of it, he was the coordinator of it, we found out, and as I understand certain commitments were made to these young people, those commitments weren’t honoured.

Andrew Little found out about the detail of it, ah and stepped in right away and said, well, you know even though it’s gonna work for me (?) he started this, he’s put this together, we’re going to fix it.

Little said on Q+A he knew about the idea early in the year, and he knew that an unauthorised programme was operating when interns were arriving at least as far back as mid-May, so “stepped in right away” is disingenuous.

And as of today my understanding is, I think there’s about sixty plus of the eighty who want to remain. I understand they’ve been billeted out, those commitments that have been made to them I believe have been honoured, ah and you don’t see Andrew Little making excuses, blaming other people, having amnesia.

Except that they are trying to excise Labour and put all the blame on McCarten.

He stepped into the space and said “we are fixing it”, ah and my understanding is it has been fixed.

Just so people understand, these are intern programs that are run all over the world. National party people, Labour party people go all over the world, Young Nats,  Young Labour and they fight campaigns.

And I must say that the weapons grade hypocrisy of the Maori Party who came out and slammed us for having interns, well if you go onto their web page and look under the volunteers and go down about three boxes it says “do you want to be an intern?”

Disingenuous. Yes, the Maori party has an intern option on their website under Volunteer, but there is no suggestion of any foreign volunteers or students on visas being sought.

So you know putting that aside, but the point is Andrew Little got the detail, commitments were not lived up to, he moved in, it’s been fixed. And I think that actually shows ah leadership, not dodging and weaving and hiding behind a gorse bush.

Cosgrove is spinning the standard Labour line that Andrew Little spun yesterday on Q+A and that has been obvious on The Standard.

He’s more colourful in his comments on McCarten but joins in the blame game and hypocritically says that they are not “making excuses, blaming other people”.

Cosgrove has continued the dodging and weaving that Little and others have been doing.