MP at Labour's ill-fated party says she was asleep at the time

A Labour MP who attended a summer camp where a number of young people were allegedly sexually assaulted says she was asleep at the time.

Liz Craig, a list MP based in Invercargill, attended Young Labour's Summer Camp at Waihi in February. She was a guest speaker on oral health issues, and attended a quiz on the evening of February 11.

That evening, four attendees were allegedly sexually assaulted or harassed by a 20-year-old man. But Ms Craig says she was asleep, having gone to bed early after the quiz was completed.

"I was dismayed to hear of events being raised in the media this week, as I was unaware until then that anything of this nature had occurred," she said on Wednesday evening. "My thoughts are with the young people and families involved."

Before the story broke earlier this week, Ms Craig had uploaded a photo from the event. It shows her sitting at a table with a number of young people, with cider, wine, bourbon and cola mixes and cans of Pepsi Max. She has since deleted the photo from her page.

Despite being asleep, Ms Craig says the organisers "put in place measures to ensure those under the age of 18 were not drinking, and that organising committee members had been designated to oversee the evening's events".

Party president Nigel Haworth says neither himself nor general secretary Andrew Kirton will resign over the matter.

The Labour Party itself will take over running future events, and will ban alcohol when under-18s are present. It's reported a 15-year-old was amongst those drinking at the Waihi camp.

The party has suspended all Young Labour events until a review of the alleged incidents is completed. The review will be led by barrister Maria Berryman, and involve input from the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network.

General manager Fiona McNamara says they're yet to hash out the details of how the review will work.

"We would look at reviewing what they already have in place - looking at codes of conduct, policies and procedures that they have, and then looking at where the gaps are in that and what we could do."

Ms McNamara says "sexual violence is a widespread issue.

A police investigation began after one of the alleged victims laid a complaint this week.


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