There are a lot of moving parts to the Newsroom story that has published the allegations that 3-4 16 year olds at a Labour Party Summer Camp last month were sexually assaulted.
The first questions must go directly to Labour.
Why the hell was anyone under 18 allowed at the camp?
Why on earth was a mountain of booze allowed?
Why the Christ were pictures and video footage allowed on social media?
Those are hindsights that need to be nailed down if this Youth Summer camp is to ever go ahead again, but it is the response to this political nightmare that is now risking to engulf Labour.
The Party have taken a ‘victim led’ response which is that the 4 16 year olds have all decided not to speak to their parents or the Police about these allegations.
The argument is that 16 year olds have the maturity to make these decisions for themselves and that Labour respected that by with-holding this information from their parents.
That might tick all the right boxes in the current victim focused #metoo environment, but what the Labour Party of NZ are effectively telling every single voting parent in the country is that if your 16 year old went to their event & were inappropriately touched they wouldn’t tell you???
That position is utterly untenable to every single voting parent in NZ and that this is the best excuse Labour could managed to come up with since the event shows a terrible blunder and political miscalculation.
As the enormity of that defence sinks into every voting parent in the country the backlash will simply begin to grow and grow and grow.
Labour have no choice right now but to sacrifice someone for this decision and it must come down on Andrew Kirton, the Labour Party General Secretary. If he stands down now it will look like Labour have regained control of this story, if they wait until the media force him to stand down it will look like a crisis.
There are also questions over how Newsroom gained the story and went ahead with it without the victims agreement. That is a media ethics issue but remember, the media aren’t held to the same victim led standards being demanded from Labour by Twitteratti, their job is to report the event and the cover up.
I am watching left wing activists on social media defending the right of 16 year olds to not tell their parents or Police about sexual assaults, and they have a point in regards to autonomy and agency of 16 year olds, but every single voting parent in this country would demand knowledge of this and that Labour are telling them to their faces that they wouldn’t tell those parents is a black hole that will damage Labour politically.