MP 'absolutely dismayed' at Young Labour assault claims

  • 20/03/2018
Liz Craig at the Young Labour camp.
Liz Craig at the Young Labour camp. Photo credit: Facebook

A Labour MP at a party summer camp during which teens were allegedly sexually assaulted says she had gone to bed thinking the youths there were being looked after and was "dismayed" to hear about the claims weeks later from media.

The camp, in February, was organised by the party's youth wing and reports of under-age drinking and the alleged assaults have been a major embarrassment.

A 20-year-old man is reported to have put his hands down the pants of at least three of the teenagers, aged 16 to 18.

Police have started an inquiry and Labour has also launched its own investigation into its running of events, along with introducing a series of tighter rules.

On Tuesday, a Labour MP who had been a speaker at the camp but wasn't involved in organising it, Liz Craig, told reporters when she went to bed before the alleged attacks, it appeared things were in order.

"I'm a non-drinker myself but there was alcohol at the quiz event that had been brought by the participants. However at the point I went to bed I was aware of two things," she said.

"One was that policies were in place so young people under 18 weren't drinking and the second thing was that members of the organising team were staying up to oversee the evenings events."

Ms Craig said she had not been made aware of the events at the time.

"I heard about these alleged incidents in the media last week I was absolutely dismayed," she said.

"Up until that point I had actually no idea these events had happened."

Meanwhile, Labour's general secretary, Andrew Kirton, wouldn't comment on the party's probe.

"We're not going to talk about the review while it's under way," he told reporters, flanked by party president Nigel Haworth on Tuesday.

"There needs to be a level of confidentiality."

The party released the terms of reference for its inquiry earlier this week.

There have been reports of two similar incidents at previous camps and that party and barrister Maria Berryman, who is carrying out the review, has called for anyone else with complaints to come forward.

The inquiry is expected to take two or three months, and Ms Berryman will make recommendations to the party.

NZN