Two of Labour's international volunteers had wrong visas

Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton said the unhappy volunteers were a small handful, but didn't want to belittle their concerns.
Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton said the unhappy volunteers were a small handful, but didn't want to belittle their concerns. Photo credit: Newshub

Labour's head office has spent the past week "sorting out" an international volunteer programme and the party has now revealed that two individuals involved "may not have held the visa necessary to participate".

The volunteer programme was run by former staff member Matt McCarten, and has been taken over by Labour's head office. 

"Our understanding is that all participants were advised of the need to obtain working holiday visas," the party said in a statement. "The two individuals concerned both chose to leave the programme last week."

General Secretary Andrew Kirton told Newshub that Labour is confident the remaining 75 or so volunteers have the correct working holiday visas.

They'll now be billeted across the country, after Labour's head office took over the programme on Tuesday due to a series of complaints volunteers made about the scheme.

The programme was being run by Labour leader Andrew Little's former Chief of Staff Matt McMarten, who was running the party's Auckland office. He ended his contract in May, and is no longer employed by Labour.

In a statement last week, Mr McCarten said the scheme was "extremely popular and quickly became oversubscribed".

Mr Kirton believes the volunteers who were unhappy were "quite a small handful, but I don't want to belittle that, that is how they felt".

On Tuesday morning, Mr Little revealed a senior Labour council member, Paul Chalmers, had stepped down voluntarily over the weekend due to his connection to the scheme.

Mr Little shot down Mr McMarten's plans for the scheme as "fantasy world staff" and an "embarrassment". He also said it may have left the party in debt, and if so they'd have to pick up the bills.

Newshub. 

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