Jacinda Ardern has this afternoon vigorously denied she was shielded by her own party from allegations of sexual assault arising from February's Coromandel Labour Party Youth camp.
In a press conference outside her Mt Albert Auckland Electorate Office, the Prime Minister said the delay of a week between Labour Minister Megan Woods finding out of the news of the alleged assaults and Ms Ardern's own notification was not calculated.
"We've moved as quickly as we could from the time that I was aware but I absolutely accept mistakes have been made, we're owning that," the Prime Minister said.
It is understood Minister Woods found out about the allegations through Twitter on March 4, but Ms Ardern was not notified until Monday this week when the allegations surfaced in the media.
Today, Ms Ardern would not comment on whether she was angry with her party for not telling her sooner.
"Look, as I've said from the beginning, the most important thing for me are these young people," Ms Ardern said.
"This is not about me and political management, it's about supporting the young people involved."
The Prime Minister also denied it was a political decision not to tell her of the assaults.
"I accept also that there has been strong advice also to the party," Ms Ardern said.
"Ultimately, the circle of people who knew, in order to make sure we were protecting these young people, was kept small and to the party leadership, and the most senior party in the Labour Party is the party president and the general secretary," she said.
"It was handled badly, I do not believe there was ever intent to allow harm to be done.
"I absolutely believe the intent was never to allow harm to be done but it was because as I said we made mistakes."
Fielding further questions on the issue, the Prime Minister said she was "absolutely not" kept out of the loop by her party to be protected from potentially damaging knowledge of the assaults.
"Leadership it taking ownership of the failing that have occurred, we are taking ownership of the fact that we let these young people down, now we have a job to do to make sure it never happens again."