Another assault at an earlier Labour youth event revealed

The sexual assault of four teenagers at an alcohol-fuelled Labour Party youth camp near Waihi three weeks ago is not the first time someone has been assaulted at a young Labour event.

Labour has today revealed claims of another assault at an earlier event.  

"I am aware of an individual that I spoke with today who spoke to me about their experiences at a previous event," said Andrew Kirton, Labour Party General Secretary. 

The victims of both incidents have now been offered help.

Mr Kirton said he has asked them "if they'd like some support and also given them the opportunity to participate in parts of the review".

All Labour Party events are now under review following the latest incident and alcohol may be banned from future camps.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there are "lots of questions around how it was that we had young people in an environment where there was alcohol - it wasn't provided but it was there - and the way that that alcohol was treated".

"Four of the participants were sexually assaulted and harassed by a 20-year-old man. The fact that that happened is completely unacceptable."

Mr Kirton said alcohol "seemed to be quite excessive at that event".

The party admits it has handled this badly and should have brought in expert support much quicker.

"The organisers had excellent intentions and are good people but we are not professionals and we should have been offering that straight away. There was a delay," Ms Ardern said.

Mr Kirton said the victims didn't want police - or their parents - to know.

"We wanted this to be victim-led response to the young people involved." 

Labour did ask the sexual abuse support group HELP for advice. 

"Those decisions are not straightforward decisions and really there needs to be some independence in the person who's talking that through with you so that you're not...swayed by other concerns," said Katherine McPhillips of HELP. 

Police say they don't need a complaint to investigate 

"Advice is that if something has happened that appears on the face of it to be wrong, then reach out early to us," said Police Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers. 

The man accused of assault has been banned from any future Labour Party events. 

Should New Zealand increase its refugee quota? A decision is 'imminent' says Ardern

A decision on New Zealand's refugee quota is "imminent", says Prime Minister Jacinda, who herself wants the current quota increased. 

However, National's Simon Bridges said Ms Ardern needs to "sort it" before she leaves for the US later this week, with discrepancies between the Government partners a barrier to finding consensus on the issue. 

The Government partners have vastly different views on New Zealand's refugee quota, with Labour pledging to raise it to 1500 and the Green Party aiming for a quota of 5000.

"If you look at the Prime Minister's rhetoric she's made great play about being a globalist, a progressive with soaring rhetoric on these issues," Mr Bridges told media today. 

"It's all very well to do the photo ops, the international pieces, but when you've got important questions like this back home that... [are] now are up in the air because of a lack of unanimity and cohesion."

Ms Ardern said she personally wants the quota to increase.

However, earlier this month NZ First's Winston Peters told media the focus needs to be on New Zealanders struggling at home.

"We have 50,000 people who are homeless back home and I can show you parts of Northland where people are living in degradation," he said from Nauru. 

Mr Bridges said if the announcement on the refugee quota was lower than 1500 it would demonstrate "Winston Peters undermining the Prime Minister". 

He did not think the refugee quota should be increased as he thought "1000 is right".

National’s Simon Bridges says NZ currently has the right number, however, Jacinda Ardern wants to see it increase.


Wellington bus 'shambles; passengers left behind due to small buses

Wellington passengers left behind due to small buses

Many are calling on central Government to fix the capital’s public transport woes.
Source: 1 NEWS

Nearly half of buses arriving during peak periods on one of Wellington's busiest routes are too small, figures for the regional council show.

Figures from a Greater Wellington Regional Council meeting agenda show out of the almost 1400 trips done on route 3 - one of the busiest - 49 percent of the time, the bus that turned up was too small.

Route 3 runs through Lyall Bay, Rongotai, Kilbirne and Newtown.

Customers not being able to catch a bus at their chosen time has also been a key issue, the agenda said. It said the primary cause has been a high number of services being delivered with smaller buses than are contractually and practicably required to meet the network design.

"Ensuring that the correct bus size is used is a key focus of Metlink and operators. However, in the meantime additional buses have been deployed to key areas to ensure there is sufficient capacity to meet peak demand."

NZ Bus, which runs route 3, did not respond to a message left by RNZ.

Commuters have vented frustrations about overloaded buses and buses not stopping because they were too full, since the network changed its routes in July.

Former Wellington deputy mayor Paul Eagle, now Labour MP for Rongotai, told Morning Report the new network was a shambles.

"[The bus network] is a shambles but it sounds like the regional council is trying at last to sort it out," Mr Eagle said.

"For starters if you drive around the parts of Wellington where I'm from, that's south Wellington, you will see loads of people standing on the street at most times of the day.

"This isn't just a peak hour issue.

"So that's unacceptable. That tells me that there's something wrong with timetabling."

Mr Eagle said the council should crack down on contractors running buses that were too small on certain routes.

"They do need to wrestle their contractors, those three bus companies, and [say] to them 'look you need to put the right size buses on the right routes," he said.

"What I'm told is that one company hasn't got the number of required buses. They sign the contract with the council later ... and that meant they couldn't goto the bus builder and buy they buses to fit.

"They're using what they have, where they can, to deliver the service."

More seating

In an attempt to fit more people on the buses some had their front seats removed but the council said due to negative feedback from commuters they would be put back in.

"Some seating has been removed on some buses to provide a short-term increase in passenger capacity as an interim measure until double decker buses are running on those services as planned," the agenda report stated.

"We acknowledge that removing seats has not been well received and that some of these buses have been used on other routes. As a result of feedback, Metlink will be reinstating seating in affected buses over coming months."

Wellington resident Kara Lipski, who organised a community meeting last month for users to vent their frustrations, said it was common for full buses to bypass stops.

"It's the route 2 that has a big problem, especially in the afternoon peak from the city to Karori, and in the morning peak it's in the Karori township, where people are seeing full buses that are going through."

She said she had also complained to the council many times about the seats being removed.

"Usually you find that the number of people standing anyway could have been sitting on those seats," Ms Lipski said.

"It's weird. Very weird."

A spokesperson for GWRC said they would not discuss the items in the agenda until after Wednesday's meeting.

- Reporting by RNZ's Emma Hatton



Did 'distracted' Jacinda Ardern's radio remarks cause the NZ dollar to rise?

The New Zealand dollar saw a slight rise today - from 65.78 to 65.84 US cents. But was the quiver unjustly caused by a misstatement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern?

That was the accusation from Opposition leader Simon Bridges today as he spoke with reporters in Parliament, just hours after the PM made a statement on Newstalk ZB that she insists wasn't an error.

"I am very pleased with the way we are tracking," she told host Mike Hosking, also stating that she'd been given "a hint" ahead of the second quarter gross domestic product figures set to be released in two days.

The Opposition says it shows the Prime Minister is distracted. Source: 1 NEWS

But she was referring to the government's unaudited financial accounts, Ms Ardern later clarified. She doesn't have advanced access to GDP figures and so won't be able to comment on them until they're released on Thursday, she said.

Mr Bridges, however, referred to it as a serious "misstep".

"This matters, because these are possibly the most -- or certainly up there as the most - important figures," he said, adding that he listened to the interview live and the question seemed clearly to him to be about GDP. "They move the dollar. They move a bunch of other economic indicators. She needs to get that right.

"That she didn't I think shows that she is distracted. She's focused on the shambles of the coalition rather than what matters to New Zealanders."

The PM says her answer about the economy was correct but misunderstood while speaking on a radio show today. Source: 1 NEWS

During her own chat with reporters at Parliament this morning, Ms Ardern held firm that the misunderstanding was on the part of Mike Hosking and Newstalk ZB.

"I know what I was talking about. Unfortunately, the question that was being asked was something different," she said. "I accept I was thinking about one thing, he was talking about another.

"Of course the Prime Minister does not get the GDP figures, nor should they. I could not comment on them because I haven't seen them."

Despite the criticism. Mr Bridges has acknowledged the fluctuation in the Kiwi dollar value is unlikely to be anything more than a minor blip because the Prime Minister's interview was clarified so quickly.

The Kiwi dollar rose slightly this morning following a radio interview in which some thought the PM had a sneak peek of Thursday’s figures. Source: 1 NEWS

Do you know who this is? Public help sought after aggravated robbery in Porirua

Police are turning to the public for help after an aggravated robbery in Porirua.

On September 6, a man holding a firearm demanded money and cigarettes from the Corinna Superette, on Corinna St. 

He was wearing a brown t-shirt, red sleeves and with a white hood. The alleged offender also had on ripped jeans, red Chuck Taylor shoes and had a tattoo on his left index finger and thumb. 

Anyone with information can call Porirua Police on 04 238 1400 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

Robbery in porirua
Source: Supplied