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Slavegate #1 – TVNZ sets the scene




The Labour Party has been accused of hypocrisy by critics after more than 80 volunteers it brought out to New Zealand for the election campaign complained of poor living and working conditions at an Auckland Marae.
Some of the 85 international students who were expecting an election campaign experience and lectures from former Prime Minister Helen Clark and diplomats, have decided to head home due to substandard food and accommodation.
The party is blaming its former Chief of Staff Matt McCarten, who has since apologised saying, “my intention from the start has been to give young people a positive experience in the New Zealand political system.
“I regret that the programme has not lived up to this promise for all volunteers,” Mr McCarten said.
ACT leader David Seymour has slammed the scheme saying “the Labour party expects everyone else to reach standards on employment law, on immigration, on paying the minimum way and they are not doing any of it.”
Maori Party Co-Leader Marama Fox called the situation “slave labour not free labour”.
“They should be ashamed of themselves,” Ms Fox said.
National’s campaign manager Steven Joyce called the situation “truly appalling behaviour” for the schemes “lack of human decency and industrial strength hypocrisy”.
Labour Campaign Manager Andrew Kirton’s now taken over the scheme and said they have supported the volunteers.
“We’ve stepped in and sorted it out to make sure these volunteers can continue to campaign across the country where can can place them in billets or be facilitated to return back to their homes with our support,” Mr Kirton said.

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