A tale of two crimes in Labour

 

Credit: Luke

The Labour party are embroiled in the midst of a sex scandal, kicked off by allegations of sexual assault against four teenagers at a recent Young Labour Summer Camp.

So far the incidents have not been referred to police but, in the past, for crimes much less serious, Labour did refer people to the police.

Labour Party member and former Parliamentary staffer Sonny Thomas has admitted taking $4183.90 from his boss Phil Twyford and his wife, stealing a cash machine card to withdraw money and racking up food and drink bills in his name.

Thomas, 24, was Mr Twyford’s executive assistant and would buy food for him when he was unable to get his own.

Thomas bought over $877 of food and drink for himself while getting things for Mr Twyford.

He also went into Mr Twyford’s office while he was at meetings and took a credit card.

Using knowledge of Mr Twyford’s personal details and access numbers he guessed his PIN and withdrew $3560 over several months.

Thomas was asked about some extra transactions over the food and drink and said a mistake had been made and paid back $254.

He pleaded guilty to theft and fraudulently obtaining a financial advantage and Wellington District Court judge Michael Turner sentenced him to 250 hours community work and ordered him to pay back the money within a month.

So, Sonny Thomas nicked a few grand from Phil Twyford’s expense account and Labour dobbed him into police. That is as it should be.

But, what we have now is a serious crime, sexual assault, and no one has been referred to police. Is this guy special to someone?

It smacks of the cover-up and hurried departure of Darren Hughes after he was accused of crimes involving a teenager. When that happened Labour went all in on victim blaming. The scurrilous rumours that were put about by Labour (some of those MPs are still there, by the way) were disgusting. In the end, they worked. The young bloke was frightened off and left the country. Darren Hughes was allowed to resign quietly from parliament and he too fled the country. He is now residing in the UK, but was recently back in Auckland.

The incident at the Summer Camp has uncanny similarities with the Hughes affair. Leadership professing no knowledge, but senior people were actively working in the background to cover it all up. With Darren Hughes it was Phil Goff and Annette King (Hughes’ landlady) who carried out the cover-up, trying to keep everything quiet for three weeks until Jonathan Marshall flew to Wellington and busted the story wide open.

In this case, senior people AND MPs knew about what went on. They’ve kept it hushed up for three weeks and then it finally broke. In the meantime Labour ran their own hit job against Chris Bishop and now we are at the point where Labour look shifty, secretive and in denial of what appears to be a serious systemic issue with alcohol and young people inside the Labour party. I don’t for a minute believe that Jacinda Ardern didn’t know anything. She gave the game away at her press conference when asked. Her information and actions taken were far too detailed for someone who professed to have just heard about it at the press conference.

It would also seem that if you are just a run-of-the-mill staffer then you get chucked under the bus for theft, but serious sexual assault, for which the penalties can be up to seven years in prison, and the party try to hush it all up.

I think this is going to come down to who the alleged perpetrator was. The way they have been protected so far, at the expense of his victims, suggests they are connected somehow. It will come out. Too many people know who it is.

The role of senior ministers and MPs in all this needs to be further explored. We know Tamati Coffey was there, and we now know Liz Craig was too. Sources have informed me that staff from Labour’s whips office were also in attendance. Newsroom have released a video of drunk young people at the party. Who was in charge? It seems no one was. Who supplied the alcohol? They are in the gun too. And who is the one who started the culture of secrecy and cover-up?

Labour have a serious issue. No one is going to listen to them if this carries on too much longer. Jacinda Ardern’s concerned face and whining aren’t going to cut it. The public will start demanding heads. This is Roast Busters all over again.

 

-Fairfax


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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