Party sex abuse claims a first test for NZ's Ardern

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 14, 2018

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.

Haworth said the party had failed in its duty of care. "We have failed in our duty of care in terms of support we've offered since then, we are very, very distressed about this".

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.

Liz Craig was the one there but was in bed.

"I can't speak to the individual attendance of everyone there", the PM said.

"As a result of the incidents at the Waihi Summer Camp we have taken the decision to immediately suspend all Young Labour events", Mr Haworth said.

The party is also facing criticism for the presence of alcohol at the event.

Police gave few details about their investigation in to the camp at Waihi, in the North Island, in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr Haworth has assured the Labour Party is "really really upset about" the incident, and are implementing a number of key step to ensure Labour events are safe. On Wednesday afternoon, she deleted a photo from her Facebook page which showed her seated at a table with a group of young adults who were drinking alcohol.

"[However], I can not, hand on heart, rule out that this hasn't happened before".

Ardern said she could not comment on specifics because of the complaint that has now been laid with police.

According to Newsroom, more than 50 people attended the Labour summer school camp and about a third were aged 18 or under.

It is alleged a 20-year-old man sexually assaulted four teenagers, all aged 16, including putting his hands down the trousers of at least three of them at the Young Labour summer camp in Waihi last month. Three of them said the 20-year-old put his hand down their trousers.

She said the party had acted "very, very badly" over the Waihi incident, but denied the party had tried to sweep the matter under the carpet.

"They have our full support to do so", he said.

"It is not appropriate that we left it up to Young Labour to run this event", she said.

Second, is the removal of alcohol from Young Labour events.

Labour President Nigel Haworth said in the statement that an independent review will take place to review the policies and procedures in place at the youth events.

Ms Ardern said she had been making her own inquiries to fully understand what had gone wrong at the camp.

"We failed the young people who told us they had been hurt - this failure left them feeling abandoned and I am deeply sorry for that".

We continue to encourage anyone with information they wish to discuss with police, or matters they wish to report, to contact us.

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