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

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".

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

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

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."



'My god she can run' - woman at centre of hilarious Kawakawa dog escape video says Lily is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame

A Bay of Islands woman told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp she is "never going to live this down" after footage of her rescue dog Lily dragging a bakery's flag down the main street of Kawakawa went viral around the globe.

CCTV footage of the freedom-seeking furball's runner — accompanied by Yakety Sax, the song made famous by the Benny Hill Show — has been viewed more than 500,000 times since it was posted to Facebook last night.

Lucie Green, a volunteer with Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, was taking the basset hound for a walk last week when she decided to stop at a local business to buy Lily a treat.

The basset hound, named Lily, was tied to a large flag outside a dairy. So she took the flag with her on her wild escape. Source: Facebook/James Mcdonald

But the Basset Hound received a fright and bolted despite being tied to a large Coca-Cola flag forcing Lucie to give chase.

"For an animal with just little legs, my god she can run," Lucie told Seven Sharp.

Lily, Lucie and the rogue flag brought Kawakawa's State Highway 1 strip to a standstill, the whole escapade captured on CCTV.

"My partner owns a local CCTV company I got to the office and I told him what had happened.

"He didn't tell me he'd done it, but he edited footage and put the music on and uploaded it to Facebook and tagged me in it.

"I knew it was trouble when basically by the time we'd gone to bed last night it had hit 100,000 views," Lucie said.

The basset hound, named Lily, was tied to a large flag outside a dairy. So she took the flag with her on her wild escape. Source: Facebook/James Mcdonald

Thousands of people have since commented on the video, with many of them admiring the dog’s spirit.

"I'm laughing my guts out it's so funny," wrote Facebook user Annie Hicks.

Lucie does see the funny side of events however.

"They say every dog has their day, so I guess Lily is enjoying her 15 mins of fame." 

Lily made a run for it when owner Lucie Green stopped at a shop in the Northland town. Source: Seven Sharp

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Tracking down New Plymouth youth MP candidates after Andrew Little's 'hip' appeal

Labour MP Andrew Little released a tongue in cheek video encouraging young people from New Plymouth to get involved in politics today.

The video inspired TVNZ1's Seven Sharp to travel to Mr Little's old school to find the perfect candidate for its new youth MP.

Judge for yourself if New Plymouth Boys' High students Thomas Foy and Jarrod Wilson have what it takes in the video above.

Tamati Rimene-Sproat is on the case after the Labour MP's piece of political theatre. Source: Seven Sharp

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Watch: Take a tour inside Kate Sheppard’s former house where suffragists worked to get women the right to vote

Suffragist Kate Sheppard's old house in Christchurch goes up for auction next month - so Seven Sharp host Hilary Barry took a tour.

Ms Sheppard was instrumental in gaining New Zealand women the right to vote in 1893. She carried out important work for the suffrage movement in the house during the late 19th Century.

Today saw celebrations around the country marking 125 years since women gained the right to vote in New Zealand.

Jacinda Ardern has indicated the Government is interested in buying the house for the nation. It's expected to fetch in excess of $3 million when it goes under the hammer on October 17.

Hilary Barry met with the home's current owner Julia Burbury who showed her around the dwelling set on one acre of gardens.

The house has a category one heritage listing.

The piece of New Zealand history in Christchurch, worth more than $3 million, is up for auction. Source: Seven Sharp


Mum distraught as son turned away from Hutt Valley High School because he didn't have permanent address

Being homeless has become an obstacle for one mother wanting to give her child an education.

Helen Taitapanui and her son were turned away from Hutt Valley High School last week because they don't have a permanent residential address.

Ms Taitapanui, is currently battling cancer and lives in a motel with her teenage son while they wait for a permanent home.

"We've got to be glad that we've got that when we know that a lot of our families are out there living in cars," Ms Taitapanui told 1 NEWS.

However, this was a problem when she tried to enrol her son at a local school.

"The response was it's against their policy to register children living out of a motel. you had to have a residential address," Ms Taitapanui said.

She complained to the Ministry of Education and shortly after Hutt Valley High School reversed its decision.

Ms Taitapanui says her son's excited about going back to school.

"I know once he steps back into the realm of education he'll be well and truly away."

She hopes by speaking out, another unnecessary obstacle will be removed for the homeless.

Being homeless threw up an unexpected obstacle for a mum wanting to educate her child. Source: 1 NEWS