In a well-functioning beehive, the Queen Bee sits there being fed and cleaned while the worker bees act as bodyguards, if necessary committing acts of self-sacrifice in order to save the hive and the queen.

In the case of Wellington's Beehive the worker bees have been somewhat clumsy about that job as the story of a 20-year-old who allegedly indecently sexually assaulted at least three others at Young Labour's summer camp rolls on.

The most astonishing factor in the chain of events after that night on February 10 was that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was not told until it was raised with her by the media on Monday - a month after the event.

Labour's General Secretary Andrew Kirton has said the only reason for alerting Ardern would have been for "political management" reasons, not helping the victims.


He argued that for the sake of those affected it was decided to keep the circle as tight as possible – and that meant not telling Ardern.

Political management is the very reason Ardern should have been told.

Prime Ministers are routinely asked about everything and anything under the sun.

In his time, former PM John Key had to contend with everything from All Black Aaron Smith's extra-curricular activities in Christchurch Airport toilets as well as his own actions pulling a waitress' hair.

When it comes to issues such as sexual misconduct and harassment, Ardern has long taken a strong stand on such matters.

Straight after Labour's Summer School, Newsroom broke a series of stories about alleged sexual harassment and drunken, inappropriate behaviour at law firm Russell McVeagh.

That was on February 14 – four days after the night in question and the same day Kirton was brought into the loop by Young Labour.

Ardern was predictably asked about those events. Oblivious to what had happened at Young Labour's summer camp, she said it was "entirely appropriate" the company reviewed its processes on the basis of the behaviour reported.


"I think every member of the public would have an expectation after seeing some of those stories that those firms undertake their own internal process to respond to what are some significant allegations."

It is a bit rich to be lecturing others on sexual harassment policies when it is happening in your own nest. The word hypocrisy might even pop up.

It pays to consider how it would look to you if the same thing happened to your rival.

Had this been the National Party's youth arm, the Young Nats, it's a fair call fire and brimstone would now be piling upon National's hierarchy from Labour.

Had Ardern been told it is almost certain it would have been handled better for she would have ensured that was the case.

Once she knew, Ardern could not credibly distance herself from it as a party matter rather than one for her, or leave it to the party officials to tidy things up.

Hence the queen is now in charge of cleaning up the worker bees' mess.

Her first response after two days was to ban fun – all Young Labour events have been suspended, Ardern is taking up her own advice to Russell McVeagh and calling in a lawyer to review what happened, and there will be no more alcohol at Labour Party events if anyone there is under 18.

It may have been accidental, but the worker bees have done their job because "political management" was also the only reason not to tell Ardern.

Her lack of knowledge now means she does not carry the blame for the initial clumsy handling of it.

Ardern is also free from any claims of a cover-up.

It is Andrew Kirton who is the worker bee paying the price for his Queen. He fronted on it and it was he who dealt with – or at least made the decision to let Young Labour deal with it without sufficient oversight – after the event.

It is not the first time Kirton has tried to clean up an almighty mess in Labour – there was also the foreign interns scheme last year organised by former chief of staff Matt McCarten which was disbanded after complaints about the living conditions and programme.

There too the required oversight from the party officials was missing. Kirton later said it was "not a good look." In this instance he has said "we could have done better".

Kirton is well regarded in Labour and has ambitions to stand for Parliament himself, likely in 2020. Leaving him to face all the music means that may now be in question.

Nonetheless, Brand Jacinda remains unsullied.