So this, I think we can all agree, is the new Government's first major crisis - and it's into day four.

The good news for them is the lawyer they've hired takes the heat off them until the report is published, due to the fact that they can, with their most earnest of expressions, every time they're asked from here on in, say we have placed it under review.

And they can add, as the until-yesterday-invisible president of the party so extravagantly said, this is the most comprehensive review of a political party ever carried out.

Barry Soper: Labour scandals raise big issues
Kate Hawkesby: Sweet at 16 - nah teens still need their parents


But - and here's where they've failed and are still failing - no heads will roll. How on earth can they say that, if they don't know what the report says?

Unless, of course, the report will say pretty much what they want it to say. There were parental consent forms signed, under-age kids present, an MP supposedly looking out for trouble. All of that, ultimately, as we know only too well, turned to mush.

They've admitted guilt in terms of care and responsibility, they failed to call police or parents, they failed to do anything until weeks later. And with all that already on the table - and God knows what else coming - they can sit there and say no jobs are in trouble?

They've got rocks in their heads, and why this has been badly handled was there for all to see. Politics 101, I think even they would privately admit it now: never keep the party leader in the dark.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern failed miserably in terms of leadership in not owning this.

She failed miserably in trying to protect Labour Party general secretary Andrew Kirton and his actions. She failed miserably in waiting till Wednesday to get hold of this and own it.

No one cares about Andrew Kirton or the president, they care about the Prime Minister. And they want to be reassured the prime minister is strong forthright, knowledgeable, capable and on top of matters. Both with the state and within her Cabinet, her party and wider organisation, she has not been.

It is James Shaw and Metiria Turei all over again: pretend it's not a big deal, bluster your way through for a day or two hoping it will go away, and then when it's all too late and the damage has been done, it ends up the way it was always gong to end up - but with more victims and casualties dragged in for good measure.


This isn't a case of denial in which a report can offer solace or escape. There are already too many damning details and admissions.

This report will either be ugly, or really ugly, and by failing abysmally on that night in question they dug a hole for themselves, and then when it went public, kept digging. It's not a hole they can't get out of. They're six months into three years.

But the opening stanza of any government is about developing credibility and professionalism and, as so many who have contacted me so rightly ask, if after six months they're shown not to be able run a youth camp, how they going to run a country?