Labour Māori MPs tight-lipped over sexual assault allegations

By Mānia Clarke

Labour's Māori MPs remain tight-lipped over sexual assault claims regarding events which allegedly took place at a Labour youth camp in Waihi last month. 

It's an incident that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was only made aware of last night.

Although the issue is headline news, no Māori government ministers would comment on whether Labour had taken the right course to deal with the sexual assault allegations concerning four youths and a 20-year-old male.

Labour General Secretary Andrew Kirton says the alleged offender has been banned from any future Labour events. 

Te Kāea also approached a number of support services, including The Children's Commission, to no avail.

Many were reluctant to make a comment because this matter is now under investigation.

But the National Deputy Leader Paula Bennett told Te Kāea in a statement;

..."Labour has some very serious questions to answer about what happened ... While we don't know exactly what happened, I think the parents of the victims and the police should have been informed."

Te Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey attended the camp.

He told Te Kāea that he got there Sunday morning around 9am, spoke for about 40 minutes about Māori politics, and left at 10am.

Last year Labour also came under scrutiny over a scheme to recruit overseas interns.  The interns, who were recruited to assist with its election campaign, landed Labour in hot water after some students complained about the state of their accommodation at Awataha Marae.