This is one of those times when Jacinda Ardern should be bloody angry and she should be saying so publicly.

Senior members of the Labour Party should have told the leader and Prime Minister that some drunken lout indecently assaulted at least three young people at a Labour summer camp.

They let her down.

If they had told Ardern, she may have insisted that the parents of the young people were told – assuming those young people were still living at home under their parents' care and were not living independently.


It should then have been up to the victims, in consultation with their parents, whether they laid a complain with the police.

Labour Party general Secretary Andrew Kirton said he was focused on doing the right thing for the young people, not on the politics of the situation.

That is crazy. He had higher obligations than just to the victims. To ignore the political dimension of the allegations is to deny reality.

Kirton had an obligation to take into account the politics of the situation as the paid office-holder of the major party of Government.

He need not have passed over personal information to the Prime Minister.

He need not have told the victims he was telling Ardern.

But it was her duty to know what had gone on at a party event and Kirton's duty to tell her.

When Megan Woods was told about it by one of the victims who felt the party's response was inadequate, her immediate response was to put Kirton in touch with the person.


Her second response should have been to tell the Prime Minister. No-surprises is not a concept only for the public service.

Ardern responded appropriately when blindsided by Newsroom about the incidents at a press conference. But that is not the point. As the person ultimately accountable for Labour she should have known.

Ardern has been too understanding and too forgiving.

The omission, especially by Kirton, was not a sackable offence. He is too valuable to Labour, too new in the job, and too good at his job in most other respects to have to go.

But Ardern missed an opportunity to say that the way it was handled was unacceptable that as leader of the party she expects better.