Two charges have been withdrawn against a young man accused of sexual assaults at a Labour Party summer camp.

However, despite the allegations being dropped, there remain four counts of indecent assault and four complainants.

The two dropped charges were withdrawn by police today before Judge David Sharp in the Auckland District Court.

The case is now expected to progress to trial next March, while the accused will next be before the court in November.


Counsel for the defendant, Emma Priest said there was a "huge number of witnesses" expected to testify at the potential trial, including Andrew Kirton, the former General Secretary of the Labour Party.

Kirton stepped down from the party role in June to take on a new job as head of government relations with Air New Zealand.

The 20-year-old's case was called again in the Auckland District Court today. Photo / Nick Reed
The 20-year-old's case was called again in the Auckland District Court today. Photo / Nick Reed

The 20-year-old accused, who is on bail, was arrested in June and initially charged with six counts of indecent assault.

The charges followed a police investigation into allegations from a Labour Party summer camp at Waihi on the Coromandel Peninsula in February.

The allegations first surfaced in March.

Earlier this month, the accused was granted interim name suppression until determination of the charges.

Priest said she may seek permanent suppression later in the case.

Police did not oppose the application, however, the Herald, 1 News and Radio NZ did.

Judge Russell Collins granted the suppression application and said naming the man publicly would create a "real risk to fair trial rights".

The judge said there had already been an "extremely high-level of media coverage" and criticised those who had talked about the case in the press "without thinking that a prosecution may ultimately result".

"Many people have commented publicly with the only inference to be taken from the comments is that the defendant must be guilty.

"His presumption of innocence is paramount," Judge Collins said.

The accused pleaded not guilty at his first appearance.

The alleged assaults occurred at an evening event, where reports later detailed claims of heavy and underage drinking.

The day prior, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had spoken to the group.

Labour's hierarchy failed to tell Ardern about the scandal, while complaints followed about the handling of its aftermath and the failure to refer the issue to police at the time.

Maria Austen, a Wellington lawyer, conducted an external review of Labour Party procedures after the allegations were made.

Austen's report included several recommendations, however, Ardern said it would not be publicly released while the court proceedings were ongoing.

Labour Party president Nigel Haworth said the party would implement all the recommendations of the Austen report.

"The Labour Party backs the decision of the police to lay charges against an individual relating to allegations of indecent assault at the Young Labour summer camp earlier this year," Haworth said after the accused's arrest.