Watch: Jacinda Ardern admits Labour handled youth camp and sexual assault allegations 'badly as a party'

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Jacinda Ardern has doing condemned the Labour Party's handling of the party's February youth camp and it's subsequent dealings with sexual assault allegations against young party members.

Speaking to media today in Auckland the Prime Minister said the the party handled the matter "badly".

"My view is that we handled this badly as a party, after the significant issues came to light," she said.

"Ultimately our party is (focused) on the young people rather than focusing on the future of individual of any of our employees.

"We are taking ownership of this issue, I was informed on Monday it's now Wednesday and I have put forward an independent review and shut down the events to make sure this doesn't happen again."

Labour Party Presidnet Nigel Haworth also said in the press conference Labour "failed in our duty of care".

Below are 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of Jacinda Ardern's press conference today

Nigel Haworth spoke alongside Jacinda Ardern today after allegations of sexual assault from the youth camp emerged.
Source: 1 NEWS
The PM says her party is now taking "ownership of the issue" of sexual assault allegations arising from the February event.
Source: 1 NEWS

4.08pm: Ms Ardern said the outcome of the review "will be a change in Labour policies in the way that we work so we will need to be totally transparent in the way that we work". 

"We also need to be clear there is a police investigation."

4.05pm: Mr Haworth said there is no time line yet set for the investigation. Ms Ardern said they would need to be careful to protect those involved.

4.03pm: Ms Ardern refused to comment on whether Dr Liz Criag was drinking at the camp, citing there would be more information when the review was undertaken.

3.51pm: "I can't speak to whether this has happened on repeat occasions, I just can't" the PM said of the youth camp assaults.

"But I need to make sure that I have confidence going forward that it won't."

3.50pm: Ms Ardern said she can't confirm that there weren't any Labour Party staff, or parliamentary staff, in attendance at the camp as the sexual assaults occurred. The PM added she attended the camp very early on during it.

"I can't speak to the individual attendance of everyone there," the PM said.

3.49pm: Jacinda Ardern has said she is happy to immediately take down potential pictures of the 16-year-old assault victims that may be on her Instagram account.

3.46pm: The PM has said she is "Not aware of any drug use including marijuana (at the youth camp), first I heard of it was allegations in the last twenty minutes.

"Leadership is taking ownership of what has occurred we let these young people down and it won't happen again.

"Summer camps will be run again by the party if and when we feel it is safe to do so."

3.45pm: The PM strongly denies she was isolated from news of the incident from within her party to protect her from it, or any possible cover-up.

3.43pm: "There were parental consent forms but they didn't help," the PM said of consent forms from parents whose children were attending the Labour youth camp.

"I didn't see the consent forms, not sure if they said there would be alcohol at event.

"My view is that we handled this badly as a party, after the significant issues came to light.

"Ultimately our party is on the young people rather than focusing on the future of individual of any of our employees.

"We are taking ownership of this issue, I was informed on Monday it's now Wednesday and I have put forward an independent review and shut down the events to make sure this doesn't happen again."

3.42pm: The PM admitted the the party responded to this issue very badly initially, but said "we've moved as quickly as we could" once she was made aware of the issue.

3.40pm: "I cannot hand on heart rule out that this hasn't happened before but we are ensuring it won't happen again," the PM said.

"There was an MP who was there who was asleep at the time, present generally at the camp.

Liz Craig was the one there but was in bed. Not present when the sexual abuse took place."

3.39pm: Mr Ardern said that there was a Labour MP, Dr Liz Criag, asleep at the Coromandel Labour youth camp while the assault occurred. 

3.37pm: Mr Haworth said he is not intending to offer his resignation, and no one within the Labour Party will be resigning.

Haworth said he has complete confidence in General Secretary General Secretary Andrew Kirton although he was a bit slow off the mark in responding to this incident. 

3.36pm: "We are taking this matter seriously , we understand we failed in our duty of care during and after the event," Mr Haworth said.

3.34pm: Jacinda Ardern has arrived outside her Mt Albert Auckland Electorate Office, and has directly handed over to Party president Nigel Haworth.

Mr Haworth has assured the Labour Party is "really really upset about" the incident, and are implementing a number of key step to ensure Labour events are safe.

The first is the suspension of Young Labour events. Mr Haworth said this is not permanent but will last until the end of an investigation

Second, is the removal of alcohol from Young Labour events.

Third is a review of the whole party by a leading senior barrister. 

3.30pm: The Labour Party this morning released a statement in which the Prime Minister took a much harder stance on the severity of the incident.

Allegations emerged Monday that four 16-year-old Labour members were sexually assaulted at a Coromandel summer camp the party hosted last month.

In this morning 's Labour Party statement, Jacinda Ardern said the party had "failed the young people" and will take immediate steps to ensure a safe environment at future Labour events.

Labour President Nigel Haworth said in the statement that an independent review will take place to review the policies and procedures in place at the youth events.

"As a result of the incidents at the Waihi Summer Camp we have taken the decision to immediately suspend all Young Labour events," Mr Haworth said.

"We need to take the time to properly review issues around how best to create the safest possible environment at all our events."

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