EXCLUSIVE: Intern tells what really happened inside Campaign for Change ‘slave labour Marae’

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The definition of a sweatshop is, “a factory or workshop, especially in the clothing industry, where manual workers are employed at very low wages for long hours and under poor conditions.” My experience with this internship and living on the marae cannot even be compared to a sweatshop. In fact, it is disgraceful to compare our privileged living situation to a sweatshop. At the marae, I have 3 delicious meals a day, access to hot water, and a warm place to sleep. The staff at the marae could not have been more hospitable if they tried.

When I found out about an opportunity to travel to the other side of the world for the summer in order to gain valuable work experience with a promise of free food and lodging, I could not say no. Upon arriving, I immediately had the opportunity to do productive work in order to increase voter registration in New Zealand in anticipation of the upcoming election. Simultaneously, I have the weekends off in order to explore this breathtaking country.
I was really enjoying the work that I was doing until somehow a convoluted story was told to the media; what exactly happened remains unclear. However, I do know that this well-intentioned educational program which somehow turned into a “scandal” has been completely blown out of proportion by the media. I am writing this because the lack of sensitivity that has gone along with criticizing this program is despicable. Additionally, media organizations should be doing investigative research before releasing a story to ensure that the entire story is accurate, but they have failed to do that in this scenario. I am so lucky to have had this opportunity and hope that with better investigative journalism the facts will become more transparent soon.

 

*TDB has agreed to keep the Interns name secret to protect their identity and because non-disclosure contracts have been signed.

33 COMMENTS

    • It is a distraction from the Barclay scandal that’s collapsing the National party from the top down. The build up of rot within National is finally imploding.

  1. Indeed.

    Though I still don’t quite understand who these interns are.
    I presume these are internships being completed towards a qualification, which is the usual American ‘model’.
    So why not recruit NZers?
    Free food and board on a marae…was there really no NZ youth up for that? Could NZers not afford the time out of paid employment?
    Are NZ Labour really that uninspiring?
    And do we really want to encourage a class based system like internships?

    • As I understand it there are a number of unemployed young people in NZ, some of whom may align themselves with Labour.
      What I don’t understand is why they were not used as being canvassed to register by someone with an American accent would strike me as weird.

        • Up to you.
          But doesn’t it strike you as odd that US students were employed to canvass registrations rather than young Kiwis?

          • Patrick, your ignorance is woeful. What makes you think “young Kiwis” haven’t joined Labour’s canvassing ranks?!

            Have you actually bothered to find out, or just trolling?

            Kirton gave details about the number of phone calls and door knocks the party had conducted since January 1 this year – 50,032 phone calls and 16,036 door knocks as of yesterday – using party activists and networks of volunteers who were not necessarily party members.

            ref: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11854921

            Maybe this is why some fora don’t want your comments. They add nothing useful to the discourse.

      • “What I don’t understand is why they were not used as being canvassed to register by someone with an American accent would strike me as weird.”

        Tell us, Patrick The Troll, what makes you think young New Zealanders AREN’T volunteering to work for Labour? Your assumption emanates from the first 3 letters of the word “assumption”.

    • As Andrew Little did point out in an interview Labour has thousands of Kiwi volunteers. This reciprocal political volunteer intern program, which is unpaid, and is only for a short time, has been going on for years between New Zealand political parties, including National and its counterpart parties in other countries, US, UK and Australia.This program is about experiencing and learning about campaigning and what other countries do. As Andrew Little pointed out, usually Labour’s overseas interns are of a small number, this year the program run by Matt McCarten became very popular and more numbers from the US UK and Australia came in. Just shows how good he is. An article on the NZ Herald by an intern, described that the trouble occurred after one of the interns stole 2 bottles of wine after a dinner party and got demoted for it. He got miffed, the right ran with it and the resulting beatup to distract from the Barclay scandal that is currently collapsing the National party like a house of cards, occurred. There have been numerous articles refuting the media’s take on this, that the Marae is anything but a slum and that they are not slaves. They say it has been wonderful, thoroughly enjoyable experience save from the few intern trouble makers. What is wrong in staying at a Marae? couldn’t think of a better way to sample NZ and be part of the culture, what a wonderful experience for these interns that otherwise they wouldn’t have.

      • National pays big money to hire a foreign Right-wing dirty politics spinmeister organisation Crosby Textor: no problem for the MSM.
        Labour gets foreign people to help them for free as an OE: big problem for the MSM.
        The MSM simply can’t accept that people like to volunteer to work for any party other than National.

        • Could not agree with you more. Very good point re Crosby Textor the acceptance of not just msm of these spinmeisters but the public too shows we have become desensitized and I blame the media for that. They have made dirty politics and corruption acceptable and normal. The msm have a lot to answer for.

  2. * ” I was really enjoying the work that I was doing until somehow a convoluted story was told to the media; what exactly happened remains unclear.”

    Oh yes,… the above person may not know,… but we certainly do ,… we know the disgusting ilk who launched Dirty Politics in this country of ours – and we know its defenders – one of which was recently given a Knighthood to deflect on his complicity on several crimes – one of which could still possibly come to light in the International Criminal Court.

    * ” However, I do know that this well-intentioned educational program which somehow turned into a “scandal” has been completely blown out of proportion by the media. ”

    Yes ,… and the same shady so called media moguls are the same that has supported this corrupt National government for the last 9 years. Oh yes,… we know who they are. I think Frank Macskasy can make a case about a certain bogus $100,000 bottle of wine just for starters.

    * ” Additionally, media organizations should be doing investigative research before releasing a story to ensure that the entire story is accurate, but they have failed to do that in this scenario.”

    Indeed,… however , … when you have an ex Television station owner with vast media contacts in a small country like New Zealand in a prominent senior role in parliament ,… it becomes very difficult to provide unbiased and incisive accounts that counter the narrative that Minister would prefer to have told.

    Couple that with deliberate underfunding of the media by the same Government and you have the fertile grounds for omission of facts , pro government commentators and articles and reports that only paint the incumbents in glowing terms – while constantly emphasizing alleged ‘failures’ by its opposition.

    And in this environment , … true investigative journalism that is vital to any functioning democracy is one of the first casualty’s.

    Oh yes.

    We know EXACTLY who is creating these circumstances and WHY.

    • As I’ve commented elsewhere @WK – I hope like hell the Gnats keep trying to push this shit, I really do!. The hypocrisy is astounding.
      Matty (as I anticipated, was doing his best on Nine to Noon this morning). It didn’t quite reach a Hooton screeching point as I’d hoped – it did have him talking about ‘industrial proportions’. Matty – PLEASE! do me the favour of keeping the rhetoric up because as Rache once said: “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”.
      But… sign yourself up – it’s all good fodder

  3. A few questions:

    Were they compensated with free accommodation, against the was stipulations in their work permits?

    Did they do work yet not receive the minimum wage?

    Were they paid out of Labour parliamentary funds?

    Were they recruited with documents which had a Labour Party header?

    • Is this a smear campaign?
      Is this Dirty Politics?
      Was this a deliberate non story set up to take the heat off the real story, Todd Barclay,John, Key, Bill English and Glenda Hughes?
      Did the P.M. lie in Parliament?

    • It becomes rather amusing watching the attempts of the incurable tory bigots to dredge up excuses for what amounts to cynical, and utterly disloyal journalism by those masquerading as the fourth estate…

      The sheer, mindlessness of those tories who can’t, or won’t accept that they are actually supporting what amounts to treasonous activity by a “government” that is proud of their success in selling New Zealanders lives, and futures to john Keys corporate bosses, is both disappointing, and sickening….

      Watching the way NZ is being utterly shafted from overseas, where we aren’t being bombarded with the utter drivel that passes for “reality” by these traitors to their “own people”, is heartbreaking at the least…

      Will it take having to watch their own grandchildren missing out on their birthrights to wake these ardent fans of Johnny’s theft of our sovereignty up? If so, it will be yet another case of “why didn’t the labour party do something?”… And the shifting of blame continues unabated while what we had that was so successful becomes a bitter memory…

      Earth to tory bigots… If the labour party has any chance of clawing back at least part of what Johnnies band of corporate raiders stole, then they need to be voted into government… Am I going over your heads yet? or is the concept of true democratic governance a bridge too far for all of you?

    • I don’t think they were here on ‘work visas’ @AndrewO.

      They came as visitors prepared for volunteering – much like is the case with any other intern scheme. Indeed, I saw somewhere that there is official advice as to what sort of visa they should seek.

      As such, your third point is redundant – there was no expectation of pay, and had there been, they would have course been in breach of their visas.

      By Labour Party ‘Header’ – do you mean ‘logo’?

      I’m not sure if YOU’VE ever done anything as magnanimous as to volunteer your time in anything offshore – I suspect NOT. No doubt you’d want payment for scooping a dead cat up off the road – though somehow I doubt you’d worry too much about the GST in your charges.

      It’s weird tough eh? @AndrewO. I’ve just been going through years of documents and correspondence in order to free up some disk space – or more accurately in order to delete same for all time rather than having to leave my offspring with the headache.
      There’s old shit in there about various conferences (overseas and here) with attendees in the bizzniss community; things like police employees travelling to that WONDERFUL bastion of the ‘free whurl’, the US of A for ‘learnings’; there’s even shit in there going back to when some character called Simon was head of the NZ Banker’s Assoc. ‘spreading the word’ – and oh – even a record of the predictions various masters of the Universe made about stock market variations had made in their yoof – the Alex Tonyanders and Kemrun Buggeries when the BNZ had a branch 900 in DG House. (It’s not actually that good).
      There’s even observations and correspondence over former contemporaries now in cosy little Public Service positions, and a bit of data when the likes of Internal affairs were starting to get interested in ‘big data’ and the sort of shit that might be picked up on a sniffer on WIX (where many government departments were clamouring to be connected to).
      It was/is a bit like the next generation of the IBM SNA GTF Trace.

      You’ll be pleased to know I’ve decided to take a hammer to it all – but you really should be careful in what you hope for – because your trolling shit really emboldens me.
      But just be sure – a lot of that primitive ‘big data’ that got sent offshore (2 terrabytes of it) that included everything from PABX call detail recorders to Ministerials to correspondence of people that now include – well spooky stuff is now in places we should be having second thoughts about.

      Please AndrewO, and Matty, and a few others. I need a reason to stay and fight in this corrupt shithole rather than fuck off to a more honest, less grow grow grow, sustainable third world

    • Clearly you do not understand how internships work. Interns do not get paid any where in the states some last up to two years working 80-100hrs a week unpaid with no promise of a job with that particular political party or corporate entity.

    • Clearly you do not understand how internships work. Interns do not get paid any where in the states some last up to two years working 80-100hrs a week unpaid with no promise of a job with that particular political party or corporate entity.

    • As I understand it from news reports the interns were told to apply for working holiday visas prior to coming here. Volunteer interns do not get paid, they are not immigrants, and they are only here for a very short time. As Andrew Little did point out in an interview Labour has thousands of Kiwi volunteers. This reciprocal political volunteer intern program, which is unpaid, and is only for a short time, has been going on for years between New Zealand political parties, including National and its counterpart parties in other countries, US, UK and Australia.This program is about experiencing and learning about campaigning and what other countries do. As Andrew Little pointed out, usually Labour’s overseas interns are of a small number, this year the program run by Matt McCarten became very popular and more numbers from the US UK and Australia came in. Just shows how good he is. An article on the NZ Herald by an intern, described that the trouble occurred after one of the interns stole 2 bottles of wine after a dinner party and got demoted for it. He got miffed, the right ran with it and the resulting beatup to distract from the Barclay scandal that is currently collapsing the National party like a house of cards, occurred. There have been numerous articles refuting the media’s take on this, that the Marae is anything but a slum and that they are not slaves. They say it has been wonderful, thoroughly enjoyable experience save from the few intern trouble makers. What is wrong in staying at a Marae? couldn’t think of a better way to sample NZ and be part of the culture, what a wonderful experience for these interns that otherwise they wouldn’t have.

    • Those are stupid questions even for you, Andrew.

      Political volunteers are never paid.

      Just ask your mates in National and Act. They don’t pay tgheir volunteeers either. If they are being paid by the Nats/Act, they’d better be recording it on their election expenses!!!!!!

      So either you’re ignorant, Andrew, or you’re deliberately trolling. Which it?

  4. Internships are just another form of unpaid labour. They also discriminate along class lines. Not many people in New Zealand can afford to work for free.

  5. You’re a bit vague here Martyn. More substance around the unanswered questions would help. ???

    • How is Martyn vague?

      One would have to be an idiot to misinterpret exactly what he was alluding to…

      The circumstantial evidence speaks for itself… lest we forget,… people are convicted on murder charges for far less… then why do we put these highly paid officials on a pedestal as some paragon of virtuous morals and ethics…

      When in fact …. they are , in so many cases of the neo liberal excess,… nothing more than the Trojan horses for Globalism and its oppressive agenda designed to enslave us, to propagandize us and to ensure our compliance…

      Why give them credence ?

      They eat , shit and fart like the rest of us….

      Why then elevate them to the Throne that only God occupies?

      They are not God,… only mere fallible human beings.

      Enough of them !

      We do not need them as failed representatives of a less than savory class of degraded and fallen entities,… when we can utilize human individuals with an enlightened sense of humanity.

      Why cling to the gutter when we can set our aspirations far further ?

      It is nonsensical.

  6. Thank you to the intern for clearing this up. Now to the real story thet EVERYONE should be concerned with.
    A quote from the N.Z. Herald…

    “But du Plessis-Allan’s main point is that the latest Dirty Politics-style events indicate how serious the machinations have been at the top of the National Party: “We got an insight into how the National Party runs and, folks, it’s ugly. There are claims of hush money, claims of interference with a police investigation and claims of a cover up. It’s like a plot from House of Cards, minus a murder on the train tracks. Where’s the accountability from the Prime Minister? Bill English said Barclay had privately confessed to making the recordings, yet he allowed the junior MP to deny the same fact publicly for a year. Where’s the accountability from board member Glenda Hughes who allegedly advised the staffer to withdraw the police complaint? If proven, that seems like obstruction of justice. That comes with a jail term of up to seven years.”

    • I am more worried about the Slave Labour Conditions overseas students have had to endure at a local marae.

      • Good for you Jack but why? Who said that it was slave labour conditions, Whailoil? Or were you just listening to Mike Hosking?

        No, I seriously believe the issue of corruption and how far deep it goes into our government, is the issue.If you choose to believe in the smokescreen, good for you.

      • Jack, please explain what you mean by being “more worried about the Slave Labour Conditions overseas students have had to endure at a local marae”.

        Statements by others at the marae, along with photographs, do not bear out your reference to “Slave Labour Conditions “.

        Are we talking about the same thing here?

        And the maraes that opened their doors to Auckland’s homeless; the Edgecumb flood victims, and the Christchurch earthquake victims – are they “Slave Labour Conditions ” as well?

  7. I heard these kids were like WWOOF’S. Like wwoofers (?) they do 4-6 (?) hours a day for food and board, all legal and moral
    Not sure how many ‘kiwis’ are travel around NZ on this scheme, but I think anyone is welome to join, surly??

  8. Has nobody seen the underlying issue here?

    Racism, racism, racism.

    Matt McCarten is Ngapuhi, the Awatahi Marae on the North Shore actively runs many support courses. They are all Maori and must really be annoying the white pakeha lords and masters ‘born to rule’.

    When was the last time MSM did NOT display open racism?

    It is so prevalent in NZ that it is no longer even noticed anymore.

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