But John Key…

Whataboutism, like “what about John Key…” is common.

Urban dictionary:

When you deflect criticism by pointing out flaws in your opponent, specifically using the phrase “what about x?” This is an attempt to excuse you from changing you behavior by painting your opponent as a hypocrite.

An example came up yesterday in one of many defences of Jacinda Ardern pulling out of two weekend interviews, instead choosing to appear at a carefully stage managed rally in from of a hand picked audience.

@rorymccourt was taken to task for claiming Key didn’t do RNZ interviews. McCourt has since deleted his tweet, but in response to it:

Obviously sensitive to the criticism McCourt followed up.

Just to be clear: my original tweet was intended to make the point John Key pulled out of many RNZ interviews, not that he never appeared on RNZ. That would be ridiculous. Some have clearly taken it the wrong way. I don’t want to appear to spread mistruths so I’ve deleted it.

I found many instances where he pulled out of interviews over his 8 years. That was the comparison with the current PM I wanted to show. But the whole truth is important: and both of them did/do the bulk of their interviews.

Price:

As expected, you were lying in your follow up tweet too. You couldn’t cite three examples of John Key agreeing to, and then cancelling scheduled interviews. I’m disappointed with your dishonesty.

McCourt’s political background (from Young Gisborne voters to be a loud voice):

Mr McCourt has been involved with the Labour Party since high school. He was Tairawhiti Youth Council president in 2010, Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association president in 2013 and New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations president last year.

He has also been on the Labour Party’s list ranking committee.

His might be a bit more careful what he says in the future.

Helen Clark: Ardern was ‘let down’ by party officials

Helen Clark has said that it was “unbelievable” that Jacinda Ardern was not told about sexual assault allegations at a Young Labour camp before the story broke publicly.

Stuff – Helen Clark: PM Ardern was ‘let down’ when she wasn’t told about sexual assault allegations

Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton has come under fire for not telling police, parents of the alleged victims, or the prime minister – his boss, about allegations a 20-year-old man sexually assaulted four teenagers at a Young Labour camp near Waihi in February.

Helen Clark:

“Jacinda was let down. She should have been told immediately, actually, then events would have taken a different course. And I cannot understand why she wasn’t told. Unbelievable.”

Asked if there should be ramifications for Andrew Kirton or those in party management, Clark said: “If you get out the book and ask what would Helen have done, well, draw your own conclusions.”

“She’s done her best to repair it after the event, but leaders never like to be blindsided.”

Ardern’s response (from her office):

“As the Prime Minister has said, there are more serious issues here that concern her than whether she was given an early warning by the party.”

Being ambushed by awkward revelations seems to be a recurring thing for Ardern.

Yesterday alone she has had to deal with The unclear Curran RNZ debacle as well as a disturbing claim of political blackmail involving a NZ First MP and possibly a NZ First Minister.

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.

Labour called ‘lying losers’ over Sir John pettiness

There have been a number of attacks on John Key after his knighthood was announced in the Queen’s Birthday honours. These have largely come from Labour associated sources.

One of these attacks was in a Standard post Arise Sir John, which set the tone for many dirty comments there.

While no party seems to want to associate with Martyn Bradbury he also blasted the knighthood in Why I will never call John Key Sir. Ever:

This vacant optimism merchant banker whose laid back persona struck a chord with middle NZs anti-intellectualism made this country far worse for the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us.

That sums up a common level of pettiness and bitterness in New Zealand politics.

David Farrar blasts another example in Lying losers:

What a bunch of lying embittered losers.

Once she was out of politics, John Key gave Helen Clark the highest Honour there is – Order of New Zealand. He supported her campaign for UNDP Administrator and gave her 100% support in her campaign to be UN Secretary-General. He also knighted Michael Cullen and gave him significant board appointments.

Key is retired and out of politics. But the nasty losers at Labour are so choking on their bile they actually authorise an advertisement smearing and attacking him for getting a knighthood. Have you seen anything so petty before? They also repeat their lie about taking $1.7 billion out of the health sector when in fact Vote Health increased $4.8 billion in nominal terms, $3.0 billion in real terms and by over 10% in real per capita terms.

This was in reference to this post on the Young Labour Facebook page:

YoungLabourJohnKey

In the fine print at the bottom…

YoungLabourAuthorised

…is an authorisation notice: Authorised by Andrew Kirton, 160n Willis Street, Wellington

Kirton is Labour’s General Secretary so this attack on Key seems to be authorised by the Labour Party.

I’m not a fan of titles, but using Key’s knighthood announcement as an excuse to attack Key’s record in this manner looks bad for Labour.

Labour diversion #2 – they won’t ditch the 90 Day Trial

Labour have long criticised the 90 Day Trial employment legislation. Andrew Little has spoken strongly against it, as detailed by James at The Standard:

“”We don’t need the 90-day law and under Labour it will go.”
Source – https://www.labour.org.nz/media/90-day-law-sees-more-workers-shown-door

“Labour would, however, not back away from its plans to change employment law, including scrapping the 90-day trial period for new employees.”

– Radio NZ

“Later Little told reporters Labour still opposed the 90 day trial, which many small businesses liked …..”

– Interest.co.nz

So it surprised many when Andrew Little said that Labour would leave the 90 Day Trial legislation apart from tweaking it a bit.

Stuff reports: Labour would retain 90-day trial periods, but make them fairer – Little

Andrew Little appears to have made an about turn on labour law reform, ruling out abolishing the 90-day trial period for workers.

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) has called on Labour to clarify its position and the Government is accusing Little of “weasel words”.

At a breakfast in Upper Hutt on Friday, Little was asked about Labour’s position on 90 day trial period, in which employers can dismiss workers.

“Our policy is to add a fairness requirement,” Little said.

The question frequently came up from employers, Little said, with every employer indicating they already gave feedback to any worker they let go, so they would not be affected under Labour’s policy.

“We just want to make a requirement to give feedback so the person knows whether they’re on track to make the grade or not.”

Asked afterwards if that meant that the trial periods would certainly stay, Little said: “Well we wouldn’t be talking about making the 90 day trial periods fairer if we were going to get rid of it.”

Any changes would not have a significant impact on employers, Little said.

“There won’t be any new onerous obligations in that regard, but it will make it fairer and we will write that into law.”

Helen Kelly was carefully critical:

CTU president Helen Kelly called for clarification.

“Making it fairer gets rid of it, right? He needs to clarify that,” Kelly said.

“We would expect them to effectively get rid of them by making unfair dismissals unlawful.”

Kelly said the 90-day trial periods allowed workers to be dismissed for reasons which would otherwise not be fair, without giving the worker the option of taking a personal grievance claim.

If Labour introduced “just cause” provisions to the trials to allow personal grievances, the CTU could accept that, as this returned to the earlier rules in existing laws covering probationary periods.

“But if what they’re saying is modifying [the trials] to simply allow unfair dismissal, but you’ve got to give reasons, then that certainly, as far as I’m aware, is totally against their [Labour’s] position in the past and would be unacceptable to us, totally unacceptable,” Kelly said.

Reaction wasn’t pretty from some at The Standard.

Charles:

This is pretty amazing. I thought there was no way they’d try to go right, because, well, they couldn’t. But no, no hurdle is too impossible, they are actually going to try to become the National Party while National still exist. I can imagine Key leaning over to Nathan Guy and saying, “They… they can see us here, right?”

So, let’s talk about the Green Party. hahaa

Rosie:

I know. Absolutely f-ing unbelievable.

I did not become a Labour Party member to support anti worker bullshit like the 90 day law.

Karen:

Please send this post (at 20.3) to Little, Rosie.

Everybody who is enraged at this needs to start lobbying now.

Etc.

And there’s flip-flop reaction from Young Labour and Young Nats:

Young Labour on Facebook:

We think the 90-day trial period is unfair, and it needs to go. Do you?

And on Twitter:

We are deeply concerned by ‘s comments that he will keep the 90-day trial period.

Meanwhile Young Nats were quick to respond:

Sometimes we end up agreeing on things and it isn’t so bad, .

Embedded image permalink

Labour have had a remarkable week.

And all may not be well inside.

Darien Fenton

Um : the policy says : “Labour will restore workers’ right to contest dismissals during the first 90 days of employment by abolishing the current government’s Fire At Will law” I think the ambiguity surrounding Andrew’s comments today are a PR problem that needs sorting quick smart.

‘Young’ Labour summer school

Young Labour are currently running a summer school in Wainuiomata. From Facebook:

Grant Robertson and Morehu Rei open Young Labour Summer School 2013. Really good numbers gathering on the outskirts of Wainuiomata. looking forward to a weekend of working with this great group of young people determined to make a difference.

Young Labour

Joanne Nixon

How young is young. Looks to be a few old heads there lol!

Seems to be a bit of snow on the mountains this summer.