COMMENT

Labour never lets the opportunity to shoot itself in the foot to be lost. Just when it had the National Party on the ropes over the Todd Barclay debacle, it jumps into the ring to self-flagellate.

The yarn is about as inconsistent as Bill English was earlier in the week over what he did and didn't know about the dispute in his old electorate office of Clutha-Southland where he was the MP for 24 years before becoming a party hack.

It involves 85 foreign students being brought into the country by Labour to campaign for it in the run-up to the election.

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Nothing wrong with that, but it is a bit rich coming from a party that just a few weeks ago launched its immigration policy which centres on getting rid of up to 30,000 foreign students who they said were taking jobs from Kiwis.

But worse still is the claim from the man behind the scheme, the former chief of staff from the leader's office Matt McCarten, who'd always claimed the scheme to get more people on the electoral roll was non partisan.

In his press statement after the real nature of the scheme was exposed he said it was more popular than he'd anticipated with so many students clamouring to come here.

Going from what McCarten described as just a supporter, Labour says it stepped in a few days ago to take over the scheme because it'd become all too much for the former staffer.

Yeah well that doesn't gel with the ads inviting the students to come here that were placed on foreign university websites.

They're headlined as a Labour Party campaign fellowship in New Zealand, telling the students they'd be Auckland-based, they'd have to commit to six weeks between now and the election, work up to 40 hours a week doorknocking and the like, for no pay. In return they'd get basic groceries and accommodation.

Some of them turned their noses up at the accommodation, on a marae in the city, and they feel short-changed and want to go home. Now Labour could be left footing that bill.

In the understatement of the week, although that's debatable, Andrew Little said it was embarrassing.

His political opponents were rubbing their hands with glee. Immigration specialist Winston Peters said they should all resign, including Bill English, with the Maori Party's rent-a-quote Marama Fox calling it slavery.

So the week's ended with the burning question Todd who? True, even Labour's Stuart Nash, old enough to be the MP's father, was wrongly identified as the beleaguered Barclay.