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Over egging the scandal soufflee

Written By: - Date published: 9:09 am, June 24th, 2017 - 97 comments
Categories: accountability, labour, national, spin - Tags: , , ,

McCarten’s internship programme (modeled on similar examples internationally) was not a Labour Party initiative, though it does use the party name. It has been in the news, with lots of wild accusations getting publicity. The most useful rebuttal was in The Herald:

US intern defends Labour’s ‘fellowship’ campaign programme from ‘sweatshop’ claims

An American student taking part in a “fellowship” programme for the Labour Party campaign has defended it, saying most of the 85 interns on it are happy.

She believed the complaints and leaks to the media were driven by one or two interns who had a beef with the programme. She claimed one was dropped from a leadership position on the programme after allegedly taking bottles of wine from Labour MP Jenny Salesa’s house after Salesa hosted a meal for them.

“We sat down, we ate and he walked away with two bottles of wine. The organisers called him out for it. Since then it’s been a simmering pot.”

She said it was disappointing to read comments in the media about “sweatshop” conditions and “slave labour”.

“Three meals a day, every single day, were provided. The care they have provided is comprehensive. The one thing that has cause a bit of chatter is the cubicle situation, which I understand is not ideal. But the sweatshop conditions, where we were rallied into a line and forced to work, that’s not true at all.”

She defended Awataha marae, saying most were moved into proper living quarters on the marae which are “more than ideal”.

“The food is great and they are very accommodating.”

She did not believe the interns were in breach of immigration rules – all had been told to get Working Holiday Visas.

She said unpaid internships were common and McCarten had been generous in looking after them. “Numerous times he told us ‘the most important thing is that you walk away happy’.” …

On Checkpoint:

‘Many of us have had positive experiences’ – US intern

One American intern, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that while the programme was not perfect, the interns had been well looked after.

She told Checkpoint with John Campbell the views of a couple did not reflect the majority.

“So many of us have had positive experiences and it’s been a very educational opportunity – the fact that it’s being painted in such a negative way is pretty disconcerting because that’s not what our experience was.

“The fact that the experience of two to three people who have a personal agenda is what’s really being pushed forward is pretty disappointing.”

The American said she would do the internship again. …

The personal account in this blog is also positive:

When I arrived, I was taken to the Marae, which is a traditional communal living space for the Maori, an indigenous group here in New Zealand. The Maori have a very strong presence here in New Zealand, and their culture has been adapted in every part of New Zealand culture. The communal living space is interesting, and I’m grateful to be allowed to live in such a space.

The first day of work, which was on Tuesday was also very relaxed. We did training that day for all the new fellows, and I got to meet the supervisors Caitlin and Kieran, as well as other new arrivals. I learned a lot about how the campaign is supposed to be run, and what my job was. We also had a quiz at the end of the training, and my team came in third. It was fun, and the questions were tricky, but it broke the ice.

Overall, despite my short time here I’ve already learned a lot, and I’ve explored a lot. New Zealand is beautiful country with really nice people, and I can’t wait to see more of it.

It’s clear that there were some genuine issues with the program. Even though it was not a Labour Party initiative Andrew Little was correct to acknowledge them, and to focus on the well being of the young people involved. Labour is taking responsibility for sorting out any mess.

Those who are chucking round terms like slaves, slave labour, #slavegate, slum, slumlords, exploitation, “sweat shop marae”, scam, and the like are over egging the scandal souffle. Their hysteria, and its curiously convenient timing, tells us more about them and their motives than it does about the programme. Team Nat were desperate to try and divert some attention from their floundering leader, and to a certain extent they succeeded.

But compare and contrast Labour and National’s handling of the issues. Front up and fix vs lie harder.

97 comments on “Over egging the scandal soufflee ”

  1. Keith 1

    Well the temptation by the good white folk of the right to put the slipper in because it combined Labour with “Marrees” was too much for them to handle. I cannot wait for the pure bullshit Matthew Hooten is going to throw up on this one. I can just envisage his slimey oily misleading diatribe on Nine to Noon this Monday.

    I wonder about the whining and it’s motivation from others in that Maori community and how political things were getting,

    It was a good idea poorly executed. You cannot rightly take Nationals reprehensible immigration policy and it’s cheap exploitable labour component and then operate an intern programme with the appearances that one gave. And without ensuring everything works for the interns, including some forms of financial benefits for them. Maybe they did, who knows?

    Someone must be micro-managing everything because Labour are NOT allowed to put a foot wrong while National literally can be involved in criminal a activity and get away with it!

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Bryce Edwards got called to account as a spreader of what is a text-book definition of fake news:

    It’s hard to magic up a “youthquake” – my column today on Labour’s Campaign for Change debacle:

    Posted by Bryce Edwards on Thursday, 22 June 2017

    What the whole intern story reminds us of is the inbuilt anti-Labour bias of the recently diminished angry white middle aged male shock jock media. The likes of Garner, Hosking, etc etc etc where oh, so SOOOO ready to believe the story that they fell on it uncritically. If only I could get the fish to bite as easily, but then I guess fish are a bit smarter than the likes of Guyon Espiner, who repeated – verbatim – the allegations in the original Politik story as facts to Andrew Little on Morning Report.

    Our MSM is lazy, stupid and easily led to anything that reinforces their class biases.

  3. Good post. The comments from interns you quote tell the story. Amazing how some have been sucked in by the gnat lines. Idiots abound.

  4. Chuck 4

    “One American intern, who spoke on the condition of anonymity”

    Unless the interns were undercover conservative spy’s of course some will be wheeled out to defend this Labour Party internship mess.

    Will be interesting to see who the mystery backer was. If it was over $30k Labour have a problem with the Electoral Commission.

    • adam 4.1

      Where you been on the harassment of the Nat staffer chucky?

      I see you only come out of the wood work to attack.

    • In Vino 4.2

      For heaven’s sake, Chuck. The plural of ‘spy’ is ‘spies’ Spy’s means either ‘spy is’ or ‘spy has’. You continue to disappoint with badly-spelt wishful thinking. The vast majority of the so-called slavery-sweatshop-interns are actually happy, and the marae is not a slum. Learn to live with that.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    Come on. If it had been National associated with this debacle commentators here would have been over it like a rash. So, don’t be surprised when right wing blogs hammer the issue. It is too good to be true from a right wing perspective.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      The OP doesn’t say anyone is “surprised” by wingnut behaviour, and yes, you’re right, they welcomed the opportunity to distract attention from the fact of Bill English’s rank dishonesty for a day or so.

      On Monday however, no-one will be talking about interns and Bill English will still be a liar.

    • Planet Earth 5.2

      Absolutely, tsmithfield, it’s a huge gift to National – “you couldn’t make this shit up”.

      Labour brings in young people from overseas

      1. To do a job young New Zealanders could do
      2. Puts them up in sub-standard accomodation (according to some)
      3. Doesn’t pay them a living wage
      4. Is evasive on their visa status

      Of course National will be all over it, it’s a huge stuff-up and hypocritical.

      Flippant aside #1: Do we want pople from overseas influencing our election? Is it OK if they aren’t Russian?

      Flippant aside #2: Maybe the people we read about working in Asian restaurants for 80 hours a week at $5 an hour and living upstairs 6 to a room are really interns, just here for the experience?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1

        Are you sure you want to go after volunteers like this?

        I mean, on the one hand I can see the temptation in diverting attention from what everyone knows Bill English is, and making a bit of political hay.

        On the other, are you sure you want to tell all your doorknockers the National Party regards them as slaves?

      • weka 5.2.2

        1. To do a job young New Zealanders could do
        2. Puts them up in sub-standard accomodation (according to some)
        3. Doesn’t pay them a living wage
        4. Is evasive on their visa status

        Sorry, but that’s daft.

        1. To do a job young New Zealanders could do
        Yes, and nothing is stopping young NZers from doing this kind of voluntary work.

        2. Puts them up in sub-standard accomodation (according to some)
        Which was a lie spread by RWers and people who should know better. There’s nothing wrong with marae accommodation in general nor in this instance. The racism here is shocking/not surprising.

        3. Doesn’t pay them a living wage
        Duh, it’s a voluntary position. Most political work of this kind in NZ gets done by people who aren’t paid.

        4. Is evasive on their visa status
        Really? Because I thought Labour fronted up pretty quick and said that the visa issue would be looked at.

        • mickysavage

          My kids have travelled overseas and engaged in comparable activity ever since they were young. It was character forming for them and educational.

          As for the rest of the claim this video of the Marae speaks volumes. But hey what have facts got to do with it?

          Poroporoake – some of our manuhiri leaving tomorrow – we are gonna miss them all when they go home😢

          Posted by Antos Star on Friday, 23 June 2017

          • Ad

            I remember international solidarity amongst the left.

            In previous generations lefties from other countries would go into other countries and join actual resistance groups.
            We’re supposed to help each other.

            Hell Jacinda Ardern was President of International Socialist Youth or some such. Although I’m sure that famous smile would momentarily quiver over her mochaccino if any of them actually flew in and knocked on her electorate door to help out.

  6. “Even though it was not a Labour Party initiative”

    I think there is substantial doubt about that. I think that invitations clearly associating the scheme with Labour were sent around the world in February.


    Matt McCarten was setting it up while still I think heading Labour’s Auckland campaign.

    Labour staff have been named as being involved – is that true or not (I don’t know).

    The Labour Intern Scheme obtained by Newshub named the Labour Party as manager of the scheme (in partnership with the CTU and AUSA).

    It also says “The project is managed out of the Trades Hall, Grey Lynn and the Grafton Road office” – is that the Labour Leader’s Auckland office that is on Grafton Road?

    Perhaps you could play with semantics and say that if it was McCarten’s initiative he wasn’t on Labour Party hours when he did everything, but the involvement of other Labour Party employees puts some doubt on that.

    If the Labour Party wasn’t involved and if the Labour Party didn’t have any responsibilities why did they take the scheme over?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1


      • Bill 6.1.1

        You can ‘eyes to the ceiling’ all you like OAB.

        But the information in that comment is accurate and pertinent to any claim that the Labour Party Fellowship Programme (that NZ Labour have run in previous elections as far as I know) had nothing to do with NZ Labour.

        • marty mars

          What about the quotes from above from other interns that were happy, impressed and enjoyed the experience – are you giving them any creedence yet?

          Seems like you just want to rip labour a new one – are you frustrated about something?

          • Bill

            I’ve not commented on fellowship experiences. They say they are happy, then fine. Some have said they were unhappy. And that’s fine too. You’d expect a range of responses from 100 people.

            btw. You might also have noticed I’ve no interest in any of the right wing spin being thrown at this.

            And I’m not being snarky here marty, but can you please leave out using potentially homophobic and disturbingly violent phrases like “rip a new one”?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          nothing to do with NZ Labour. ≠ “not an NZ Labour initiative”.

          I’m rolling my eyes all I want.

    • lprent 6.2

      Ah that is interesting – so we should eliminate anyone who is political from being involved in anything that is related to politics?

      While we are at it we should kick out all farmers from the National party because they might get into parliament and the laws constrain what they do. Same with property investors.

      Of course Christians should NOT be involved in helping people in poverty offshore… Quite why but I am sure that you could delude yourself that there is a reason.

      Of course there are Labour people involved. Just as there are probably people from Mana, the Greens, the Unions, and just about anyone from the progressive movements.

      Did you really intend to sound that foolish?

      • Bill 6.2.1

        2017 Labour Campaign Fellowship.

        To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to Caitlin Johnston at labour.org.nz.

        Questions? Contact Caitlin Johnston at labour.org.nz or Kieran O’Halloran at labour.org.nz.


        • marty mars

          So what? Did you read the comment you replied to?

          • Bill

            Yes marty, I did.

            Explain to me how it would come about that Mana and Green people would be involved in a “Labour Campaign Fellowship”? Note. I’m assuming the term Labour was used to denote the political party as opposed to being reference to the labour movement.

            And some of the reasons I’m making that assumption is that the leaflet makes no mention of unions or of other parties…that, and that the labour movement has no campaign. Or more precisely – given that the leaflet says fellows are being asked to “work towards a Labour victory in New Zealand’s most important city” and that they’ll be offered “special access to senior MPs and important decision makers within the party

            • marty mars

              Seems that many are putting stuff aside to try and get the gnats out.

              But let’s just assume you are right. Labour did it tried to use interns stuffed it up and upset some made a compete muck up. So what. Any person calling it slave labour is just pushing gnat lines. Slum is related to priviledge and expectations. If the above did happen and it’s all come out, fixing the situation for the interns would be the topmost priority – that is happening.

              And if what others at saying in disagreement to you are right then fixing it is the highest priority – that is happening.

              So what’s the problem – do you think a cover up is happening?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                What’s the problem? The answers coming from Labour don’t sound sufficiently evil and neo-liberal, and therefore they can’t be true.

              • Bill

                I’d like to know what went on. That’s all.

                I’m not interested in National Party supporter spin lines and I’m not interested in Labour Party supporter spin lines.

                To digress for a moment. Some people hereabouts would seem to be of the opinion that ‘one’ ought to be a bit careful about how Labour Party stuff is approached given that there’s an election – that what’s said or written on this blog is really, really important or some such.

                There will be two million five hundred thousand people casting a vote in three months time (give or take). Discussions here will have no discernible impact on how that vote goes. The overwhelming majority of readers and contributors to this site will be voting against the interests of the National Party no matter what.

                With that in mind. When political party stuff pops up that I have questions about, I kind of quite like to get answers, or some idea about what’s what if possible. And as I said above, spin as attack or damage control doesn’t really interest me.

                • Sure – I think you’re being disingenuous though with the ‘i just want to know the truth’ line. It is election year and the nasty stuff will fly and people are influenced by spin lines and lies – that is why politicans say and do them – they work!!!

                  • Bill

                    I get that marty. But I also get that barring some “revelation” or “scoop”, what’s discussed on this site has bugger all impact on the impact any given spin might have in terms of the general population.

                    Of the people commenting or potentially reading this thread, do you think any of are likely to be persuaded that “black is white” or that “up is down”?

                    Y’know, (call me naive) but I think it’d be nice if there were more posts and discussions that revolved around understanding shit ,or of getting a reasonable picture of things (it used to happen), as opposed to various commenters rushing around “blogland” waving their wavy flags and shouting their shouty shouts….

                    • Pat

                      I fear yours is a forlorn hope Bill…..political blogs (of ALL hues) are exactly that …political…not impartial nor reasoned.

                      may explain the great unwasheds’ complete (and perhaps understandable) disinterest

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I’d like to know what went on. That’s all.

                  Me too, I just have better things to do than rubbernecking. If the answers provided so far by the actual people involved aren’t to your liking, I’m not sure what anyone here can do about it.

                  Even were we able to thrash out the exact details of what mistakes were made, by whom, and when, does that mean you’re going to volunteer for Labour and help prevent them in future? Didn’t think so.

                  And that word, volunteer – as I asked above, is this where we want to go: redefining it as some sort of exploitation because Bill English needs a smokescreen?

                • weka

                  To digress for a moment. Some people hereabouts would seem to be of the opinion that ‘one’ ought to be a bit careful about how Labour Party stuff is approached given that there’s an election – that what’s said or written on this blog is really, really important or some such.

                  I would be one of them. I’d also be one of the people that think that social media influences culture. There were thousands of reads of the posts during the week about the Barclay/English issue. Far far more than were commenting here. Those people don’t read that in a vacuum. They read it at work or at home and then they talk to other people in those places, and all those people are also taking in information and opinion from MSM, FB, twitter, their daily lives etc. Journalists read here, as do politicians. If The Standard doesn’t have any influence on the political landscape, what’s the point of it? If social media doesn’t have any influence, then why do political parties use it?

                  I’ve seen people on twitter slagging off Labour and/or expressing their disappointment/horror at something Labour has done, but when asked after a while of that, they say they will vote Labour. My concern is that when they slag off Labour to their mates who are swing voters or potential non-voters then those people take in the message that Labour are incompetent to govern and they vote elsewhere. Lots of those people won’t vote Green or the minor parties, so yes, this is a very real issue in terms of changing the government.

                  The issue for me isn’t shutting down critique of Labour (which I think you’ve unfairly accused me of doing), it’s getting people to, yes, take more care in how they do it. So you might feel your questions are valid (and I’d probably agree with you on that if I was following closely), but what interests me more is how those questions are being asked and the context they are being asked in (not you specifically, I’m talking about over all). This is a blow to Labour not because they make mistakes, but because they made mistakes in a unforgiving culture that values the bash more than support and help. And the reason that matters to me is because I think that changing the government is waaaay more important than bringing Labour to heel.

                  There is no doubt in my mind that the MSM fucked up on this, both at the information level and by promoting outright fucking racism, and that the formal and informal RW machine geared up very fast to take advantage of what was going on. Too many lefties piled on. That all happened. And it happened because of NZ’s bash-Labour culture.

                  So yeah, the details of what Labour did or didn’t do in this instance pales in relation to the fact that Newshub are still today running a headline with ‘sweatshop’ in it. I don’t have a problem with you asking questions about the details about Labour, but I do have a problem with those questions being taken outside of that context. You aren’t promoting the racism and misinformation, but that’s where this whole thing started and it’s very hard now to separate it out.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Don’t forget they’re also bashing these volunteers who are being described as exploited immigrant slaves. After all, I’d hate to see anyone ask that little wanker Seymour why he’s so fond of the Maxim Institute when it has interns working there.

                    And what’s with this photo?

                    Anyway, Labour are evil liberals eh, everyone knows that. Bash bash bash.

                  • Anne

                    Hey weka, would you turn this comment of yours into a post? A few adjustments of course. What you are saying is very important and needs to be said time and again.

                    Here’s hoping…

                    • Jenny Kirk

                      Totally agree with you, Anne.
                      Weka – those are really good straight-forward comments. Need to be repeated.

                  • Bill

                    Hmm. You do get that I was commenting in relation to spin and not information, yes? It’s the impact this site has on any given nation wide spin that I was referring to. (Sorry if that wasn’t clearly expressed).

                    I can’t comment on twitter. I don’t access it. My comments above (and this one) are very much focused only on this site.

                    So yes, I absolutely agree that posts here can have an effect on the political landscape (ie, the information available). But posts that are spin or counterspin will have next to bugger all effect on whatever the spin is that NZ is being subjected to.

                    The only exception I can think to that is where “the standard” is the only place where a given spin is being undermined. That used to sometimes be the case back in the hey day of the National Party HQ/whaleoil’s bullshit.

                    On this fellowship thing and the spin that’s been put on it by National/Act Party supporters…you might disagree with my insistence of staying focused on the issue of a fellowship programme that seems to have morphed and then exploded/imploded and the reasons why. I’m just briefly reflecting (because you raise the possibility) that I can’t readily bring to mind any comments from any people who would be assumed to vote against the interests of National that have pushed the “slave labour”/”slum lord” memes…but then, I’m treating those memes as a kind of trolling (DNFTT), and so might have missed something.

                    What I haven’t missed is the idiocy of comments from the likes of OAB that seem to be desperate to argue me down on points I’ve never made. Aww..poor, picked on me 🙂

                    The serious point is, that comments like that can serve to alienate and shut down anyone who isn’t deemed to be waving the Party flag of allegiance fervently enough. And that does nothing in terms getting informed or discovering information…people who might have been able to offer good info may well avoid submitting it if they think they’ll get a bullshit bolloxing from commentators (I’d have banned if I wasn’t commenting).

                    Anyway, if media are spinning (it’s what they do), then it’s those outlets and those particular articles that need to be tackled. But again. This site’s potential impact on spin is very limited. So going for the big picture and a broader take of msm that just uses their instance of spinning as an entry point might be a way to go. That’s a long hard row…

                    But anyway, why I should take their spin, and embed my approach to the fellowship programme in the context they are spinning, or take their bullshit into account, eludes me.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Here’s something for you to chew on then. The focus on interns makes politics a rich person’s game, just as business internships are for people with independent means.

                      However, people without independent means are often time poor and lacking motivation too. Not to mention deliberately discouraged from engagement by right wing policies and strategy.

                      Square that circle without volunteers.

                      PS: you don’t like me putting words in your mouth, apparently. Well hello Pot, I’m Kettle.

                    • Bill

                      Uh-huh. I know the implication of the word “intern”. It’s why I’ve shied away from it. Can you point to a comment where I’ve used the term? No you can’t. I’ve consistently referred to fellows or such-like because it aligns with the concept of volunteer.

                      Your comment though, it reads as suggesting someone should have hammered a “poor little rich kid” line and then used that as a stick to bash Labour with. Odd.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “poor little rich kid”

                      Too funny. You’re actually projecting your bias onto me 😆

                      Now, I don’t get into my personal details in this forum because on the one hand I value my privacy, and on the other, they’re irrelevant. Hence the pseudonym.

                      So I have no rebuttal for your notions of me, just a roll of the eyes.

                      The attack on Labour is based on the fact that they accept volunteers, just like every other party. There is nothing more to it other than the attempt to divert attention away from Bill English. That’s my opinion. Clear enough?

                    • Well, I think you’re wrong.

                      There’s certainly been some embarrassing hypocrisy regarding foreign volunteers, but there’s more important issues.

                      Like whether Labour has been caught trying to employ a jacked up third party organisation to avoid declaring donations, or if it’s just McCarten gone rogue.

                      How the Labour Party and leadership let this happen in the first place, and how didn’t prevent it getting out of hand. There were plenty of warnings about the risks of using McCarten.

                      How much of a distraction this is for the Labour Party leading into the election campaign and they are having to put som much focus on cleaning up the mess.

                      How it makes Labour incapable of running it’s own affairs let alone the country.

                      About honesty – McCarten certainly seems to have deliberately deceived. And there’s questions about how much Little and Kirton knew and aren’t admitting – or if they didn’t know, why not.

                      Greens have gone quiet, I imagine there’s a certain amount of despair in their camp given they have put themselves in the position of being totally reliant on Labour for them to succeed.

                      And Peters will be ecstatic that both National and Labour have had such asful weeks.

                    • Nah those are just the gnat talking points and you know it.

                    • You can’t have it both ways.

                      It’s how I see things. A bit pathetic trying to blame National for a Labour balls up.

                    • yep how you see things aligns with the gnats – how convenient lol

                      “How it makes Labour incapable of running it’s own affairs let alone the country.”

                      see that is just rubbish, poor grade rubbish – and quite simply a gnat sympathetic line that is pathetic – seriously pathetic.

                    • There’s certainly been some embarrassing hypocrisy regarding foreign volunteers…

                      There has? What hypocrisy regarding foreign volunteers are you referring to? The only context in which I’ve seen foreign volunteers come up is this one – for it to be hypocrisy, there’d have to be some other foreign volunteers situation to compare it to, so what are you comparing it to?

                      …but there’s more important issues.

                      Oh, there are many. So why are you blathering away about this trivial one?

                    • It’s how I see things.

                      Nobody but you gives a rat’s ass how you see things, Pete. You’re entitled to what you can argue for.

      • Pete George 6.2.2

        There’s no problem with Labour bringing in volunteers and interns if they want to – if they don’t mind a few jibes about hypocrisy.

        The problem is the attempts to dump it all on McCarten and claim it wasn’t a Labour party scheme.

        This post at University of Michigan on 24 February with a contact email address @labour.org.nz and saying…


        The Labour Party Campaign Fellowship is a unique opportunity to witness how democracy functions first hand. The fellowship is based in Auckland which is New Zealand’s largest and most diverse city. All fellows will report to the organising staff. Daily tasks include: leading phonebanks, coordinating volunteer schedules, leading trainings, organising doorknocking groups, attending local Auckland political events, and assisting the organisers with daily office functions. This is a great opportunity to assist the organisers in leading a team of local activists and to learn about the on-the-ground political climate in New Zealand.


        …means it’s a bit disingenuous to claim that the party only stepped in this week to sort things out.

        Kirton and Little have conceded they knew about it in April, but it was well under way then, and if they didn’t know about it earlier they should have.

        It’s not the use of interns and volunteers I have a problem with, it’s the deceit and lack of honesty.

        When McCarten ‘launched’ the Campaign for Change’ a couple of weeks ago he claimed it was non-partisan and didn’t mention Labour. I think that was deceitful and dishonest.

    • Barfly 6.3

      Are you lonely Pete George ? Is there no one to talk at on Beige Blog ?

  7. Karen 7

    This from Claire Trevett in this morning’s Herald is interesting as it explains a bit better what happened:


    I’ve been a bit busy this week so have only just tried to work out what happened through the various news and twitter accounts. I know this marae – it is where the Alliance was formed back in 1992 so Matt will have some strong, long term links to that marae. It is certainly not a slum – it is used by all sorts of international groups. A First Nation group spent a couple of weeks there in April and loved it. However, marae living isn’t for everyone, and I think 90 was far too many for that particular space.

    The idea of overseas volunteers is an old one but usually they get billetted with Labour Party members. Matt had big ideas (as he often does) but he didn’t work out the logistics very well (another Matt trait). The example in the article of him approaching the CTU for money but then not following through with a letter is typical.

    That said, it was a great idea and it is sad that it has ended this way. I briefly met 5 of these students at a friends’s place last Saturday – they were going door-knocking with some NZ volunteers and seemed really happy about what they were doing. Obviously there were some others who weren’t (like the one who stole wine from Jenny Salesa) and the usual suspects have latched onto this in order to take the heat off the Nats. The hypocrisy of Jordan Williams, Ben Thomas, David Farrar and Matthew Hooton being concerned about exploitation and poor housing is extraordinary.

    • From that: “Labour leader Andrew Little said the party would disclose anything it was required to and would ensure third parties did as well. However, the party was still working out what funding there was in place.”

      Why would he do that if it wasn’t a Labour scheme?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1

        [Grow up and engage OAB, or go away or alternatively, be sent away. You decide.No more pointless ‘rolly eyes’ in lieu of engagement with reasonable comments.] – Bill

        • Barfly

          Peter do try to keep up. You poor old chap didn’t you realize this wasn’t a Labour Party program but they have stepped up and taken charge of it upon invite because of their greater resources and larger organizational capacity.

          • Bill

            Hey Barfly. What’s this if it’s not a NZ Labour “Labour Campaign Fellowship”?


            • One Anonymous Bloke

              You and Peter should read Lprent’s comment at 10.1.

              Reading is a skill though, so…?

            • marty mars

              You calling labour liars?

              They have explained, quite reasonably too imo when they probably really wanted to be focusing on billshitter.

              • Bill

                Has a Labour Party spokesperson stated that the “2017 Labour Campaign Fellowship” (as per that leaflet and as per the emails/literature sent out to various Universities) had nothing to do with the Labour Party? Because if so, I missed it.

                Note – I’m not talking about the “Campaign For Change” the fellowship appears to have morphed into and that NZ Labour disowned or distanced itself from in mid- May.

                • mickysavage

                  Campaign fellowships are not new things. I know a number of people who have been on them. I’m struggling to see what the problem is here apart from some substandard organisation.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    The problem is that Bill English needed a smokescreen and Labour are evil Liberals or something.

                  • Bill

                    I see nothing at all wrong with Labour having a Campaign Fellowship Micky. (I’ve said as such a few times now).

                    In the context of this post, the ‘problem’ would be the claim that the Campaign Fellowship had nothing to do with Labour.

                    I’m curious on how it came to be that such a programme became something else, the details of which Labour were apparently blind-sided on, exactly what who-ever was responsible thought they were hoping to achieve, and how that came to implode.

                    I’m also curious to know (from listening to Checkpoint the other night) how AL can reckon that a fellow has got nothing to do with immigration given that they are here for a set period of time (fair call imo), but have an immigration policy that targets people who are only here for a set period of time (students).

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      What you mean they didn’t predict that volunteers could become the target of dirty politics?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      an immigration policy that targets people who are only here for a set period of time

                      You mean the immigration policy that seeks to ensure that they indeed stay here for a set period of time, rather than study being a loophole to citizenship?

                      Because if you were trying to pretend that’s somehow contradictory, it says something about you, and nothing whatsoever about the policy.

                      [Seeing as how you’re obviously keen to construct your own hermetically sealed arguments, and in effect debate yourself, you’ll appreciate the time I’m giving you to do just that. Obviously, you won’t be able to use that time to simultaneously indulge in your habitual pastime of attacking other commenters. Them’s the breaks. The duration of your ban, that’s taking effect as of now, will be posted up here sometime in the next 24 hours, ie – sometime early Monday afternoon.] – Bill

                      [Banned for 3 weeks]

      • lprent 7.1.2

        Because some idiotic fuckwits like Farrar, Hooten, and even at least one government minister have levelled accusations, both veiled and direct, at the Labour party. Labour tends to deal with it rather than trying to lie like Bill English does.

        Are you really this thick or is it just a really bad day?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2


      Perish the thought, and whatever you do don’t look for any other examples.

    • Once Was Tim 7.3

      As I said elsewhere @Karen – I hope like hell the Gnats keep pushing this shit. It’s only because we have a lame MSM too lazy to dig that we see Gnatzi opportunists trying their best to take advantage of the situation.
      I imagine there are one or two who’ve moaned like a Hooton on heat that might be desperate to get home to mummy and daddy.

    • Alwyn 7.4

      You mention one of the interns as having stolen some wine. I have seen a reference in this blog to a couple of bottles but no link to a reputable or unbiased source. Is there one?
      Actually if they did try and pinch a couple of bottles I am not surpised they are being scorned. They would never qualify fo a role in the NZLP. As Phil Goff’s staff demonstrated at the Parliamentary Press Gallery party in 2008, if you are going to pinch the host’s booze you take multiple cases of the stuff.
      These people, even if they did what you suggest, have got to do beftter than this penny ante stuff.

  8. Tautoko Mangō Mata 8

    I was pleasantly surprised to read the following this morning.

    Audrey Young: ;No comparison between Labour’s intern strife and National’s crisis

    The crisis that has afflicted National over the past week is not remotely comparable to the headache facing Labour over its foreign campaigning interns.
    Yes, the poorly-run intern programme has weakened Andrew Little’s ability to talk convincingly about Labour’s immigration policy.
    But he admitted its failure quickly, acknowledged it was an embarrassment, and the party is trying to make good on the experience that the young travellers were hoping for.
    In Matt McCarten, Little’s former chief of staff, Labour has someone it can credibly blame. In his exuberance to change the Government, he overreached and may have cut corners.

    By contrast, the National Party crisis has undermined its leader internally and externally when leadership and judgment will be a huge factor in the election.


  9. ianmac 9

    If an American sees the Red coloured phamplet they think Republican.
    When they arrive here and find that they are to help Labour (Democrats?) they set out to sabotage the scheme. (In USA the colours bue/red were chosen by chance to contrast on TV.)

  10. Bill 10

    Hang on Anthony. Are you really saying that the Labour Party Fellowship Programme was not a Labour Party programme?

    My clear understanding is that it was, but that NZ Labour stepped away from it in mid-May. At that point, McCarten seems to have kept it running as a non-partisan project seeking to promote some “Charter for Change”.

    If it really had nothing at all to do with NZ Labour, then NZ Labour couldn’t have pulled the plug on McCarten last Monday/Tuesday. And they wouldn’t have felt obliged to field a potential $200 000 fallout from the whole affair, or confess to embarrassment.

    Or am I missing something obvious?

    • lprent 10.1

      Read the first few paragraphs of the first link of the post. It reads…

      A mystery backer funded the volunteer scheme for overseas students working on Labour’s campaign – and even Labour does not know who it was or how much was involved.

      Matt McCarten, who set up the scheme and ran it under his “Campaign for Change” organisation, told the Herald it was funded by a “private funder” who thought the scheme was a good idea.

      It is understood Labour itself still does not know who that funder is or how much was spent on the programme and it has been left to cover some of the costs of housing the interns at Awataha Marae, although McCarten said he believed the payments were up to date.

      And the last paragraph. It has the name of Labour, so Labour are bailing it out.

      It was advertised as a “Labour Party Fellowship”, involved Labour MPs, and was set up by McCarten while he worked for Labour until May – but was run by his Campaign for Change.

      Your clear understanding is probably incorrect (just as Bomber’s was).

      Labour runs all kinds of volunteer things at local or even volunteer level. In a lot of ways, this site could be considered to be one in that I and the bulk of authors over the years are Labour party members. FFS Mike Smith, my fellow trustee, spent many years as the Labour Party secretary. But it doesn’t mean that it is a Labour party initiative.

      I’d guess that like this site it was being pushed to Labour and something that should be done, but didn’t get official support. Labour tend to be pretty conservative about what they operate, and they tend to play safe. For instance, instead of something like this site, Labour did the now moribund Red Alert.

      But because their name is on it, their supporters are involved, and there are some progressive volunteers apparently having issues – Labour will bail it out.

      • Bill 10.1.1

        Yeah, nah. That’s a reference to the “Campaign For Change” which is what the “2017 Labour Campaign Fellowship” morphed into.

        The 2017 Labour Campaign Fellowship was a Labour Party initiative, no? I mean all contacts were for Labour Party people, all focuses were Labour Party focuses and the proposed lecture series was all Labour bar some overseas involvement. (As an ex-leader of the party, I’m viewing the proposed lecture by Helen Clark to be Labour).

        There are questions arise around how a fairly straightforward Fellowship programme became a bloated and somewhat detached debacle – one that may or may not have been privately funded, or that may have fallen due to a lack of funding. ($200 000 was the round figure being punted in terms of fund requirements, some of which was to come from fundraising dinners, raffle tickets and union contracts according to what looks like a very rough and ready but genuine draft that’s been linked to elsewhere)

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          …questions arise…

          Make sure you imagine the answers all cast the NZLP in the worst possible light, and you’ll be able to reject the actual reasons out of hand.

          No, wait, sorry, you’ve got that well covered.

        • lprent

          Have you heard of City Vision?

          It is the coalition between the greens, labour, some old alliance people, unionists and just about anyone who is interested in left wing local body politics through much of Auckland. It now has a pretty strong

          Is it a Labour party initiative? yes. Is it a Green initiative? yes. etc.

          Do people involved in this use personal cityvision emails? Not usually..

          Because who in the hell wants to have 20+ email addresses for each frigging group they are involved in.

          Do either you or I use a thestandard.org.nz email? No of course not.

          If that is the level of evidence you are relying on, then I’d have to say that you are don’t require any and what we are seeing is your own personal bias flooding out.

          BTW: weren’t you the one chastising me about levels of evidence a month ago? I guess you require more for organisations that you like eh?

          • Bill

            You’re contending that a “Labour Campaign Fellowship”, that has literature mentioning only the Labour Party, and that is focused on winning Auckland for the Labour Party, is likely some kind of cross party coalition involving the Greens and others because City Vision. k.

            I can’t respond to your “BTW” because I can’t remember any such exchange. If you care to remind me, all good.

    • Gabby 10.2

      Well, Labour might have got on board a scheme that got hijacked, and been bullshitted into thinking everything was fine.

      • Bill 10.2.1

        Yup. Something like that.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.2.2

        It looks to me as though:

        1. Labour (McCarten, whatever) put out a call for volunteers.
        2. Heaps of people responded.
        3. It was a “she’ll be right” type of volunteer affair. Marae accommodation, goodwill, we’re all in this together, kumbaya etc etc.
        4. Sour grapes over pilfered wine.
        5. ???
        6. Profit!!! Scandal!!! Dogs and cats living together!!!

        In other words, dirty politics as usual. The line “not a good look” is a bit of a give-away. If you “look” at the work of volunteers through a jaundiced lens you can come up with all sorts of nasty rhetoric.

        “Charities give things to people who would otherwise buy them: charities are responsible for business failures. Not a good look for charities.”

        “Rotary Club volunteers are stealing our jobs. Not a good look for the Rotary Club.”

        Steven Joyce encourages internships. Not a good look for Steven Joyce.”

  11. ianmac 11

    “Fran O’Sullivan: Barclay affair takes the gloss off brand English …”
    Fancy Fran doing other than praise him. praise him praise him as she usually does.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      Unlike his predecessor Sir John Key, he is not a practised dissembler.

      F o’S.

      I guess it’s ok to say it now there’s little more harm he can do 🙄

  12. ianmac 12

    Paddy Gower Newshub intense interview of English published 3 hours ago. Covers most of the statements the PM made including many of those contradictory ones. Paddy does a good job of pursing this.


    • mary_a 12.1

      @ ianmac (12) … yes, I saw this interview and have to say it has to be one of Paddy Gower’s best and believe me, most of the time Gower does not impress me one little bit. However though, throughout this interview with English, he remained very professional, exactly how NZ visual media journalists should conduct themselves.

      Hate to say it (3 Hail Mary’s for penance), but credit where’s credit’s due, well done there PaddyGower. Look forward to more of the same good interviewing technique leading up to the election.

      Pity Gower didn’t use the same strong interviewing style on Key when he had the chance. Now that would have been interesting.

      • ianmac 12.1.1

        Yes Mary. With Paddy’s record of massaging the Government ego I was pleasantly surprised at the persistence and the precision of all those dodgy moments that he reviewed with the hapless English. I expect Bill had been practising to be prepared but…..
        A very good interview.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 12.1.2

        Paddy and Key had a bromance going.

  13. patricia bremner 13

    When her research shows a pattern, Fran doesn’t bend and spin.
    She was an admirer of Billshit, but has lost respect for his recent and ongoing behaviour, and this is clearly expressed in her recent posts.
    There is a brevity and pointed disgust evident imo.

    • dukeofurl 13.1

      Only now does she say the truth about Key-> he was an accomplished dissembler-
      I suppose that was a close as the lawyers would allow. Not a peep of it for last 10 years or so.

  14. Karen 14

    Here we go – this includes a video of some of the poor slaves being farewelled by their slum landlords.


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    7 days ago
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    2 weeks ago

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  • Clean energy future for more schools
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    19 hours ago
  • Building business strength with digital tools
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    21 hours ago
  • New pest lures to protect nature
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    21 hours ago
  • Support for innovative Pacific education responses to COVID-19 needs
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  • Eligibility expanded for COVID-19 leave support
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    3 days ago
  • Seasonal work visa available to more people
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    3 days ago
  • More border exceptions for critical roles
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    3 days ago
  • Crown will not appeal Dodds v Southern Response decision
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    3 days ago
  • Crucial PGF investments for Northland
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    3 days ago
  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
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    4 days ago
  • Government backing Māori landowners
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    6 days ago
  • New tools to make nature more accessible
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    7 days ago
  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
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    7 days ago
  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
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    1 week ago
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    1 week ago
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  • Iwi community hub opens in Murupara
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    1 week ago
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    1 week ago
  • Procurement to promote jobs, Māori and Pasifika businesses and sustainability
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    1 week ago
  • Timaru’s Theatre Royal to be upgraded and new heritage facility built
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    1 week ago
  • District Court judge appointed
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    1 week ago
  • Approval given to Commercial Film and Video Production Proposal
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    1 week ago
  • Supporting a thriving wānanga sector to benefit Māori learners
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    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature boosts efforts to restore Kaimai-Mamaku
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand first in the world to require climate risk reporting
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    1 week ago
  • Economic data highlights impact of Auckland moving out of Level 3
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    2 weeks ago
  • PM statement on Cabinet COVID-19 Alert Level review
    Takiri mai te ata, ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea, tihei mauriora! Tātou katoa ngā iwi o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou! Tēnā tātou e whakanuia ana i te wiki nei, te wiki o te reo Māori Greeting to you all from Otepoti, Dunedin.  This week is the Māori Language week and ...
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  • Government joins forces with Central Otago communities to clean up waterways
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government confirms new Dunedin Hospital design
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    2 weeks ago