Mike's Minute: Heads need to roll over Labour Youth Camp

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 14 March 2018, 9:24AM

So if the Prime Minister thinks that being totally unaware of the sort of chaos that went on at that Labour Youth camp is okay, then I guess it's okay.

If the party chief thinks it's okay to keep it all secret, then I guess it's okay. But only from the party's point of view.

If they want to operate that way, who are we to tell them otherwise? Other than to say it's not modern operational policy. The 'no surprises' approach is your most common around the world.

It certainly operated for Helen Clark, and John Key was all over everything. It's the sort of thing that makes you look awkward, amateurish and slightly out of your depth.

Equally, if those who were assaulted or abused don't want to take things further, then that's their call. But you do have legal issues around people who saw things and didn't do anything. And you certainly have issues, legally speaking, around alcohol, under-age kids, and supervision.

So the business that the party is currently in, which is the old 'nothing to see here', may or may not come back to haunt them politically. The Megan Woods aspect speaks volumes about her, and her reputation will not be enhanced by her lack of action.

But what's inescapable - and this is the part they can't be let off, and this goes to their thinking in other areas - is the bit whereby kids in their care were not properly treated. Instead of using common sense, they used a so-called professional to get advice. Who thinks that way?

If I am in charge of kids, I think for myself. And my first port of call, outside immediate issues like doctors or police or medical care, or whatever the situation throws up, is parents. Parents need to know.

Parents have a right to know. Parents sign off the fact their kids are away in the first place. School camps are famous for all the paperwork. Any time a kid leaves a gate at school there is permission sought.

There were kids there under-age, and in the hands of the Labour Party, for the camp. And as such, a level or care and responsibility goes with that. Not to mention obligation to the parents to keep their kids safe and well and the parents fully informed.

To oversee what happened at that camp, and to then dial a so-called professional for advice strikes me as mad, inexplicable, and lacking in any real common sense. If a school operated that way, this would be a bigger scandal than it already is.

If this was the Guides or Scouts, there would be hell to pay. But a political party can cover up potentially illegal behaviour from everyone, debauched behaviour, and somehow that's okay.

The bloke Kirton, the head of the party, needs to be sacked. I am surprised he hasn't quit on the spot.

What I can't work out is whether the defence they're offering up is butt-covering politics hoping it will go away, or they're genuine in their defence, and therefore just completely out to lunch.

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