Former Act and National leader Don Brash has criticised the level of media coverage of the alleged indecent assaults at a Young Labour summer school, saying it was being overplayed in light of other world news.

"Any kind of sexual harassment is wrong and I don't want to diminish that. I was just irritated that literally every news bulletin I listened to between 9am and noon, the first item was about this particular issue. To make this the primary news item for days on end seems to me to be overplaying it."

He said there was the developing situation between Russia and the United Kingdom over the use of nerve agent in Britain, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been fired, and North Korea and US President Donald Trump were supposed to be meeting.

He said the issue was "absolutely embarrassing" for the Labour Party.

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"If you're running a camp for your young supporters, many of who are teenagers, the basic first rule is to keep them safe. In this case, they clearly failed in that. I'm not saying this is a trivial matter. I'm just saying it isn't World War 3."

He said the alleged actions of the 20-year-old in putting his hands down the pants of at least three 16-18 year-olds were serious but should not be conflated with something such as rape. "Any sexual harassment is bad, but they're not equally bad. The difference between that and a violent rape, which leaves someone bleeding and battered, they're two different gradations. And I think we devalue the language by pretending they're equally bad."