NZ Police investigate sexual assault allegations at summer camp

Kirton did not tell Ardern about the four alleged assaults at the Young Labour summer camp last month and the news

A police investigation has commenced into allegations regarding a Young Labour summer camp at Waihi in February.

"We understand we failed in our duty of care during the event", said Mr Haworth.

"We apologise and we are really really upset about this".

The Labour Party has suspended all Young Labour events until an external review is completed following sexual assault allegations.

Mr Haworth said senior party officials put too heavy a responsibility on Young Labour leaders to deal with the aftermath of the incidents.

"We will make this a party that is absolutely safe for people of any age, of any sex, of any gender, of any orientation".

The party is also facing criticism for the presence of alcohol at the event.

Ms Ardern said that Ms Craig was asleep at the time of the abuse.

Labour MP Liz Craig was at the event that night. Young people attended the event with parental consent, but on Wednesday afternoon, Ms Ardern was unable to say whether those consent forms mentioned alcohol.

She had not spoken to the victims. "We are owning that".

"It was handled badly (but) I do not believe there was ever any intent to allow harm to be done", she said, adding that neither Kirton nor Labour president Nigel Haworth would resign over the issue.

"Mistakes have been made". He had not, as far as she knew, been offered counselling. "It is not appropriate that we left it up to Young Labour to run this event", she said.

She attended a quiz event and went to bed early once that had finished, she said.

"That's why the party is taking steps not to ensure it won't happen again", she told reporters.

Haworth said there was no timeline for the review at this stage.

He wanted to "apologise deeply" to the four young people who have been so "grievously treated", to their families and the other young people at the event.

In addition to the suspension, Labour has banned alcohol at any future events when those under 18 are present - and it will take over from Young Labour in planning and running future events.

Among those told of the abuse was Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton, seen as the architect of Ms Ardern's successful "Jacinda-mania" election campaign.

"I apologise for that", he said.

Ardern said the party had failed the young people who reported the sexual misconduct, and apologised. "It's not good enough, we let them down". They said anyone with relevant information should know that an official complaint does not need to be laid for investigations to begin.

The perpetrator was not a Young Labour member or staffer, according to Ms Ardern. "They work hard for our cause and we must ensure they can do so in a safe and supportive environment".

"The external expert will also be available for anyone who wishes to raise issues in relation to previous events". This will review our policies and procedures in relation to these events including those by Labour's sector groups, and also Waihi.

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