An eyewitness at the Young Labour party during the Waihi summer camp says it was a "recipe for disaster", describing it as an unsupervised party where people were throwing up in toilets and in the bushes from excessive boozing.

And there was a giant walk-in fridge where anyone, including people as young as 15, could just walk in and grab any booze they wanted.

The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the public deserved to know the true nature of the event, during which a 20-year-old is alleged to have sexually assaulted four people aged between 16 and 18.

"On the Saturday night, even before dinner, people were playing goon bag roulette with the clothes line, hanging a bag of cask wine and sitting underneath it and spinning the clothes line," the man said.


"On the Sunday morning after the incidents occurred, people were vomiting in toilets and in the bushes and were not able to attend morning speeches because they were so intoxicated from the night before."


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He said partying was the unofficial purpose of the weekend, where about 60 people attended, including about 20 people under 18 and as young as 15.

"It's been spun as a conference gone bad, but it was really a weekend-long piss up, with no supervision of young people.

"They chose that venue because it has a full-size walk-in chiller. A mountain of alcohol is absolutely correct. People could just go in and grab as much booze as they wanted. People were drinking within hours of arriving."

He said he had communicated with two of the four victims and one of them was disappointment with the way the incident was handled.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and party president Nigel Haworth apologised on Wednesday for how the summer camp was managed, saying the party had let down those who attended, their families, and Young Labour for burdening them with the responsibility of running the camp.


Ardern admitted the party did not do justice to the victims or the attendees, saying more support should have been offered sooner. But Haworth and Labour's general secretary Andrew Kirton have not offered to resign.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Labour president Nigel Haworth apologise for the poor handling of the Young Labour summer camp at Waihi. Photo / Greg Bowker
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Labour president Nigel Haworth apologise for the poor handling of the Young Labour summer camp at Waihi. Photo / Greg Bowker

Labour has suspended all Young Labour events and banned alcohol at party events where under 18s are present, while launching a review into procedures as well as other historic claims of sexual misconduct at party events.

Two separate allegations of historic sexual misconduct have since emerged, one involving a women that Labour has offered support to, and one in Christchurch that reportedly involves a Young Labour volunteer harassing another volunteer.

The Labour Party is suspending all Young Labour events in the wake of a police investigation into sexually assaults at the Waihi summer camp.

Kirton had no comment on the new allegations.

Ardern said the review would also look at the supervision of alcohol at Waihi, and whether there was any drug use.

The man said that the young people at the camp had agreed not to drink or take drugs.


"But there wasn't any supervision of any kind. It was an honour system, but there was no enforcement."

People at the camp were told about a helpline they could call, but he said mobile coverage was so limited that the helpline was practically pointless.

​"They told us on the morning of day three to send a text, because it was more likely to get through."

He said he did not witness any of the alleged offending, nor any drug use.

"I witnessed the [alleged] offender and a victim having a conversation. It seemed to turn a little bit nasty. It went from being quite a benign conversation to quite a tense situation."

He said the next day he was told someone had been sent away for drunken behaviour, but there had been no mention of possible sexual misconduct. An email from Young Labour to the victims in the days that followed was not good enough.


"There was no offer to talk to parents or support in making a police report. There was no phone call follow-up.

"It was treated as an individual thing that happened between two people, much like if it had happened at a flat party. But it wasn't a flat party. The Prime Minister attended the event, sanctioned by the Labour Party, even if it was run by Young Labour.

"It is a bit hypocritical as a party, seeing as their values are about protecting people and standing up for those who need assistance."