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Fresh allegations involving Young Labour in Christchurch

Ryan Anderson
Abbey Wakefield

The Labour Party has been told about new allegations of sexual harassment, and a potential sexual abuse involving Young Labour volunteers in Christchurch.

A man sexually harassed at Young Labour volunteer through an app after he had been invited to join a Facebook group chat, a source claims. 

The alleged harassment occurred during last year's election campaign period.

Labour's General Secretary Andrew Kirton was made aware of the claim on Wednesday and received information about a separate case of alleged sexual abuse within Young Labour in Christchurch. The sexual abuse allegation may involve an underage teenager.

The man has been described by Young Labour volunteers as a sexual predator.

Christchurch East Labour MP Poto Williams said she was unaware of any complaints about the man but confirmed he worked as a volunteer during the election campaign.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern encouraged any victims to come forward, but declined to comment on specific allegations because a police investigation and an independent investigation were under way.

Jacinda Graphic

Kirton said if any evidence of harassment passed on to Labour would be assessed and potentially included in senior barrister Maria Berryman's independent investigation.

Berryman is understood to be looking into the Christchurch allegations, which came hard on the heels of sexual abuse accusations in relation to a Young Labour camp held at Waihi last month.

Newsroom's Mark Jennings broke the story about alleged sexual harassment and assault at a Labour Party youth camp where several teenagers were allegedly groped by a 20-year-old man at the camp in February. Video footage shows youth camp attendees drinking and partying.

Kirton said he was unaware of minors drinking alcohol at the camp.

All Young Labour events have been cancelled and alcohol has been banned at future Young Labour events.

Kirton acknowledged Labour could have handled the Young Labour camp situation better. 

Labour Graphic

Initially, police and the parents of the alleged victims were not told about the incidents.

Rape Crisis spokesperson Andrea Black said parents usually wanted to know if their child had been assaulted.

"I'm a parent and a grandparent. We can't help our young people work through things that have happened to them without knowing."

Kirton said Labour wanted the young people involved to decide for themselves how to manage it.

"Professional agencies recommended this, as doing it for them could cause stress."