29 Aug 2018

Labour to review policies after Young Labour camp incidents

5:25 pm on 29 August 2018

The Labour Party says it will implement all the recommendations of a report into indecent assaults at a Young Labour camp in February.

Labour Party president Nigel Haworth

Labour Party president Nigel Haworth said the party had established a process for putting in place the changes. (file photo) Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

A 20-year-old man from Mt Roskill, with interim name suppression, has denied six charges at Auckland District Court of assaulting four people believed to be between 16 and 18 years old.

A review carried out by lawyer Maria Austen into Labour's handling of the complaints has been reported back to the party's president.

The recommendations include developing a more effective relationship between Young Labour and the Labour Party, and reviewing the party's code of conduct and its policies on alcohol, sexual harassment, bullying and its complaints procedure.

Labour Party president Nigel Haworth said Labour had committed to putting in place all the recommendations and had established a process for that work to be completed.

The recommendations:

  • Develop a more tangible and effective relationship between Young Labour and the Labour Party
  • Review and/or develop policies on The party's code of conduct - along with consideration as to whether that should apply to the Young Labour Party, or whether a modified or separate code should be developed
  • Review and/or develop policies on sexual harassment and sexual assault, alcohol, events and host responsibility, bullying and complaint procedure
  • Incorporate updated event registration and parental consent and risk disclosure information requirements and forms to ensure compliance with current best practice and all legislation relating to the care of minors when participating in party held events.
  • Ensure at least one Labour Party representative should also attend the entire event and be available throughout (solely or jointly with another nominated adult supervisor) to ensure compliance with safety and welfare expectations and the Young Labour Party should also nominate a welfare officer to attend all events
  • Introduce a new, over-arching alcohol policy, formulated in consultation with expert external advice
  • Introduce a new open complaints process to enable complaints to be received and responded to without delay and with the appropriate degree of specialist advice.

However, Mr Haworth said he would not be releasing the report.

One of the victims who wanted to remain anonymous said that was not okay.

"As far as I'm concerned the failure to release the report to the media is absolutely disgraceful," the victim said.

"I feel to a degree that there is conflict of interest in a sense - one of the most influential figures that was aware of the original complaint, which is the President of the party, is also the person that is in charge of implementing the recommendations of the review.

"Further to that, the fact that it hasn't been released to the media shows an absolute lack of transparency, but a copy also hasn't been released to the victims or the people that were interviewed for the review, which from my perspective as a victim is absolutely disgraceful."

Mr Haworth said because legal proceedings were underway the Labour Party would not be making any further public comment.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she has yet to read the full report, however, it would not be made public because the events detailed in it were still before the court.

The review was undertaken for a reason and the party knows there were things it needed to do differently, Ms Ardern said.