Labour to overhaul summer camps after assault investigation

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and former Labour General Secretary Andrew Kirton speaking at the event.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and former Labour General Secretary Andrew Kirton speaking at the event. Photo credit: File

The Labour Party will implement all of the recommendations from an internal investigation into allegations of sexual assault at a Young Labour camp.

Senior lawyer Maria Austen was commissioned to review the party's policies and procedures after the incident at the Young Labour Summer School Camp in Waihi in February.

A 20-year-old man was accused of harassing four teenagers and putting his hands down the pants of three of the four victims.

Ms Austen's recommendations include that all events are to be supervised throughout, and new policies on alcohol and a complaints process are to be developed.

Labour Party President Nigel Haworth said: "The recommendations are both welcome and specific, and reflect the care taken by Ms Austen in completing her report. The Labour Party is most grateful to Ms Austen for the quality of her investigation."

The recommendations of the report are to:

  • Develop a more tangible and effective relationship between Young Labour and the Labour Party

Review and/or develop the following policies:

  • The Party's Code of Conduct: along with consideration as to whether that should apply to the Young Labour Party, or whether a modified or separate Code should be developed
  • Sexual harassment & Sexual Assault
  • Alcohol
  • Events and Host Responsibility
  • Bullying
  • Complaint procedure
  • Incorporate updated Event Registration and Parental Consent & Risk Disclosure information requirements and forms to ensure compliance with current best practice and all legislation relating to the care of minors when participating in party held events.
  • Ensure at least one Labour Party representative should also attend the entire event and be available throughout (solely or jointly with another nominated Adult supervisor) to ensure compliance with safety and welfare expectations and the Young Labour Party should also nominate a Welfare Officer to attend all events
  • Introduce a new, overarching alcohol policy, formulated in consultation with expert external advice
  • Introduce a new open complaints process to enable complaints to be received and responded to without delay and with the appropriate degree of specialist advice.

"As legal proceedings associated with this matter are continuing, the Labour Party will be making no further public comment," the party said in a statement.

The 20-year-old man is due to appear in the Auckland District Court on Wednesday afternoon.