Matt McCarten has pulled out of his Movement for Change programme, slammed by Act as being a Labour campaign "sweat shop".

The programme, aimed at energising non-voters was extremely popular, but quickly became oversubscribed.

The Labour Party has taken control of it after foreign students involved complained about accommodation and conditions.

"The scale of the programme is now greater than I can manage, and I am aware of issues that this has caused," McCarten, Labour leader Andrew Little's former chief of staff, said.

Advertisement

"The Labour Party Head Office contacted me about these issues and requested to take the programme over so that it could resolve them. I have agreed to this and am no longer involved in the programme.

"My intention from the start has been to give young people a positive experience in the New Zealand political system and I regret that the programme has not lived up to this promise for all volunteers."

McCarten said he would not be making any more comment about the programme.

Some of the roughly 85 overseas student volunteers who have been staying at Auckland's Awataha Marae will be flown home early. Others will be billeted with Labour supporters and work on the campaign before going home.

The campaign aimed to have one-on-one interviews with 100,000 New Zealanders who aren't enrolled to vote or did not do so at the last election.

Act Party leader David Seymour said Immigration New Zealand needed to investigate Labour's "sweat shop".

"Who would believe in Labour's promised crackdown on cheap student labour when Labour are one of the worst offenders in the country?"

Labour's general secretary Andrew Kirton told the Herald a number of "issues" has seen the party officially take over the "Campaign for Change NZ" programme from McCarten.