Labour's 'enormous lapse of judgement' over alleged sexual assaults - Chris Trotter

The Labour Party leadership has been slammed over its handling of sexual assault allegations at its Young Labour camp.

Labour Party general secretary Andrew Kirton has defended the response after four teens were allegedly sexually assaulted during a wild summer camp party last month. Neither the police, the parents of the teens or Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were informed.

But political commentator Chris Trotter says this was a huge mistake.

"What on earth was Andrew Kirton thinking?" he told The AM Show on Tuesday.

"The Prime Minister had been present at this event. And this had happened - and you didn't tell her?"

Mr Kirton told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint it was the victims' decision not to speak to police. That's why the Labour Party did not inform the parents of the victims about the incident either.

And despite attending the camp, Ms Ardern claims she also was unaware about the alleged assaults and only heard about them on Monday.

"My view is the more important thing was dealing with the issue," she told The AM Show on Tuesday.

"That was the priority of the Party leadership and I support that. So it doesn't bother me that I found out yesterday."

Mr Trotter says this was an "enormous lapse of judgement".

"If I was Jacinda Ardern I would be incandescent with rage at my Party's general-secretary and at my Party president," he told The AM Show.

"You do not allow your prime minister to be caught unawares by a question like this."

A review is now underway into the camp's procedures and Police say it is aware of the media reports.

"The perception problem for Labour here is huge," Mr Trotter believes.

"You had kids - 15, 16-year-olds - who reported a sexual assault and you didn't tell their parents and you didn't tell the police."


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