New Zealand Party Is Faulted After Sex-Assault Claims at Youth Camp

Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton will keep his job but Ardern says he should have followed up with the victims

Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton will keep his job but Ardern says he should have followed up with the victims

Senior cabinet minister Megan Woods found out about sexual assault allegations at a Young Labour summer camp more than a week before the prime minister learned about the matter from reporters.

Newsroom has reported a 20-year-old man allegedly assaulted four 16-year-olds - two males and two females - by putting his hands down the trousers of at least three of them during a party on the second night of the camp near Waihi on February 10.

The former Crown prosecutor said that the description of the incident, in which an apparently drunk 20-year-old put his hand down the trousers of three 16-year-olds, would be termed indecent assault.

In regards to the most recent complaint, Kirton said, he had kept the Prime Minister's office in the loop but he only became aware of it after he'd spoken to Jacinda Ardern on Monday night.

Those affected had not been offered counselling until nearly a month after the event.

He also said that, as a parent, he would have wanted to know so that his son or daughter was getting what they needed to get through it.

While she said she was "not bothered" that she had not been informed, she told Radio New Zealand she was concerned about "a delay in services and support being offered to those involved". Asked if it was acceptable given Labour's principled stance on sexual harassment issues, Kirton replied: "Well, we could have done better".

Andrew Kirton was contacted by Young Labour on Monday night to say a woman had come forward saying she had been sexually assaulted at an event in the last ten years. He does not believe the alleged incident involves Labour Party MPs or Ministers.

Ms. Ardern said that the 20-year-old was not a Young Labour member or part of the staff and that she did know why he was there.

He said the event, which is "not too dissimilar" to the February summer camp - one that discussed party policy and campaigning - is where the historic sexual assault is alleged to have happened.

"Two hours later she heard from the general secretary that he had been in touch with the young person and the situation was being handled appropriately", the spokesman said.

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