The past week has been a lesson for Labour and for its new leader Jacinda Ardern.

Politics is a goldfish bowl, anything that's done under the party banner whether it's a fundraising cake stall, or a gathering of idealistic youth wanting to soak up and indulge in the bonhomie of the brother and sisterhood, has the potential of being in the public eye.

What went on at the Young Labour summer camp is now being investigated by a lawyer.

A drunken yobbo falling over four 16-year-olds and being deeply remorseful and unable to remember the groping the next day isn't something you'd expect the Prime Minister to have to be fronting up to the nation on.


The biggest failure of the Labour Party's general secretary Andrew Kirton it seems was to leave the youngsters to sort it out themselves - and to only take it seriously when Cabinet Minister Megan Woods was written to by one if the four asking "s'up" when he'd heard nothing about how his groping complaint had been handled.

Given its potential to impact on the party - anything involving sex makes headlines - the Prime Minister most certainly should have known.

Ardern was left gulping at the beginning of the week when she was asked about it.

No-one it seems had told her what had gone on at the summer camp that she'd addressed earlier in the day.

On the cover up conspiracy, it's true, Labour didn't want this one spilling into the public arena which is perfectly understandable, why load your opponents' weapons?

It's a bit like if a company threw a party and someone who's invited by a staff member gets out of control and makes a nuisance of himself.

The company would itself try and sort it out behind closed doors - and most certainly would not get on the blower to a rival organisation to alert them.

But the key is, the boss should be told as the company sought to put matters right.


Labour's deftly removed itself from the direct line of fire by appointing Wellington lawyer Maria Berryman to investigate what the party's youth have been up to.

It means people like Kirton can stay in the trenches as the bullets whiz through the air above.

Another grenade's been hurled with claims of more sexual harassment, this time involving Young Labour in Christchurch during the last election campaign.

Apparently this involves two incidents, one allegedly involving a known sexual predator and the other an underage teenager.

Dodging the flak, the battle-weary Kirton says they're no longer commenting on individual cases, conveniently referring inquiries to their own investigator or the police.

They'll be hoping that's the end of the matter for the time being but it would seem #MeToo in this party is still very much alive.