Labour’s foreign campaign workers put up in sub-standard accommodation

Politik reports:

A Party scheme to recruit  85 overseas students to campaign for the party during this year’s election has hit trouble.

Yep the party complaining there are two many overseas students in NZ has brought 85 of them over to campaign for them.

The students rebelled over their accommodation and their disappointment with what was supposed to be a high powered learning programme but which appears to be not much more than political campaign drudge work.

In other words Labour conned them into being free labour. No living wage for them. Not even a minimum wage.

POLITIK has seen emails which show that the students have now held two meetings with party officials to complain about their accommodation on an Auckland marae and the work they were being asked to do.

Last night Labour’s General Secretary Andrew Kirton confirmed that there had been issues with the scheme which had arisen over the past week.

He said the scheme had been originated by Andrew Little’s former Chief of Staff, Matt McCarten, who now runs Labour’s campaign office in Auckland.

They openly call it their campaign office, despite it being funded and paid for by The Parliamentary Service.

The heart of the row appears to be the living conditions under which the interns have been accommodated at Awataha Marae in Northcote.

POLITIK has been sent photographs showing:

  • Cramped dormitory alcoves

  • A broken and unusable shower

  • Bathroom cupboard doors hanging off their hinges

  • Unfinished construction work with material piled beside mattresses

So Labour has turned into a landlord putting people up in crowded and unsanitary conditions at the same time they demand all other landlords meet a WOF standard and camoaign against over-crowded accomodation.

The students met Labour party officials on Saturday to protest about their accommodation and were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Trying to silence them.


The emails continued: “They were told that they are broken down into teams- they will be either phone soliciting ( they’ve bought 30-ish Alcatel phones, and they sit in a room and call, from this marae, very disorganised, many of these people have been called already ) , door knocking in regions in Auckland, or approaching universities and “unions” to recruit votes and more volunteers. They have one day of ‘training’ tomorrow. There is nothing else planned for these guys as far as I am aware.”

So this marae has turned into a Labour Party calling centre.

“Fellows will be instructed in the fundamentals of a successful campaign – from knocking on doors to recruiting volunteers to use the party’s campaign software – but will progress quickly and ultimately may build and train their own teams and lead campaign activity across Auckland.

The campaign Fellows serve an important leadership role and will report directly to the field organisers.

“They will be tasked primarily with projects surrounding the recruitment and retention of volunteers and direct voter contact activity. “

The programme is billed as an education opportunity for the interns which will give “the fellows a glance into what a career in politics would be like, as well as offering the fellows special access to senior MPs and important decision makers in the party.”

Short lectures are promised from some top Labour Party names:

  • Andrew Little
  • Jacinda Ardern
  • Helen Clark
  • “Current ambassadors to NZ.”
  • “Senior party stakeholders and staff, including the President and Chief of Staff “
  • Teleconferences with senior staff from US Democratic Party and UK Labour Party

However, Kirton said there were now problems organising these talks because the volunteers were no longer in one place.

The party might use webinars for the talks, he said.

They really have conned the poor students. They thought they were attending some high powered campaign school, when in reality they are just unpaid labour for Labour. They are getting none of the talks or discussions they were promised – just at best an ability to watch some videos on You Tube!

And the website explains that “although we are unable to compensate our fellows financially, the campaign fellowship will stand out on your CV and both organisers are happy to serve as a reference upon successful completion of the fellowship.”

It is very sad that Labour is so short of volunteers in New Zealand they have had to con 85 foreigners to come here and work for them for free.

Comments (237)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment

%d bloggers like this: