The Labour Party summer camp story is a hideous one on so many levels.

Sexual assault obviously being the major one, but there's so much else going on here too.
Parents not being told. The PM not being told.

A supervisor going to sleep, thus not fulfilling the fundamental basics required in terms of supervision. Alcohol being present around under-age children. MPs being contacted and assuming it was being dealt with.

It's what I'd call a complete cluster - of catastrophic proportions.
Any event, but especially one being put on by a political party, requires supervision, (that involves people being awake) and security.


If alcohol is present, how are children there? And if they are, where's the permission from their parents? And when they're sexually assaulted, an offence grave enough to be reported to police, not to mention ruin lives, I don't care what anyone says, you tell the parents.

Two things in particular have bothered me in the wake of this story.
One, Labour Party general secretary Andrew Kirton's defence of his actions in not informing the PM or the parents, and two, the way the party is spinning this.

When asked if Kirton thought the PM should've been informed earlier, he said no. Pardon? We have never lived in a hotter climate of sexual assault prevention and awareness - yet you don't think this is worthy of letting the PM know?

Helen Clark had a 'no surprises' policy. I imagine under her, Kirton would be toast. But Arden's keeping him on.

Mike Williams, a former Labour Party president, said there was nothing he didn't inform the PM of. Kirton though, keeps it secret - keeps his job.

Ardern looked like a possum in headlights at Monday's post-Cabinet press conference, she seemed visually ruffled. But when asked about her demeanour - that she didn't look well, she laughed it off claiming she'd just forgotten to touch up her makeup. A blindsided Prime Minister is a blindsided Prime Minister, no amount of lipstick would've covered that up.

Here's the other thing that bothers me: Kirton's defence of not telling the parents. If your daughter was dealing with the trauma and fallout of a sexual assault by herself because the party organiser didn't think to tell you, how'd you feel?

At 16, they're still children. I don't care what any 'expert' says, no one cares more about that child than its parents.


And here's where this gets really ugly: the way the party's spinning it.

Arden and Kirton are peddling the line of defence that informing the PM would've been a 'political management response', instead, they were focused on 'the people, not the politics'.

Wake up. The people are the politics - and vice versa. When you're a political party, especially one that claims to be about the people and for all people, then you cannot divorce the two.

I'd argue the opposite here - they were so concerned about the politics of it, and how bad it might look for the party, they woefully overlooked the 'people' part.

For a party which expects honesty, transparency and accountability from everyone else, this has been poorly handled from beginning to end. And you can bet your bottom dollar, if the shoe was on the other foot, Labour would not stop jumping up and down about this until heads rolled.