Exclusive transcript with Labour student intern
95bFM spoke this afternoon to an intern who came over to work as an intern for the Labour Party, who wishes to remain anonymous. Here is the transcript, edited and condensed for clarity:
A: Basically, I don't even know where to start - the story broke this morning... I didn't leak it, and it's not the full narrative and it's not the truth - as of now, I've been reading every article that's been published and stuff it's just not [true] - I am probably the one who knows the most about the situation for certain reasons and I would just say that it is not the Labour Party's fault. It is Matt McCarten, Paul Chalmers, Simon Mitchell, Caitlin Johnson, Kieran O'Halloran. They kind of organised on their own, lied to the Labour Party, went off and said they were bringing over 15 Americans to work on campaigns, and really tried to bring over 115 at peak capacity, and then just kept on bringing people from the US, the UK, Ireland, Italy. It was mostly a way to exploit - we were meeting their targets for phone calls and door knocks, and then for Matt McCarten, we were going to work for labour unions and increace the participation with those labour unions, so there's just a lot of shady shit up in the air right now.
Q: So who are those four names do they work for the Labour Party?
A: Caitlin Johnson, Kieran O'Halloran, and... they are the only officially paid staffers for the Labour Party, that may have changed within the last couple of days, I'm unsure, Matt McCarten was the former chief of staff, he resigned, and has been playing it off like he hasn't been involved at all. Paul Chalmers is the regional chair for Auckland, so he is supposed to help campaigns all kind of organise together, other than that he doesn't have authority for the Labour Party. Those are the key people who are being left out of this statement, and i think it's for a reason, the people who leaked it are damage controlling. A lot of the narrative right now is around immigration policy and stuff like that, and they're really missing a lot of the legality issues of everything that they've done.
Q: So why do you think they're being left out of the narrative?
A: I think that Caitlin and Kieran came forward to the media and leaked and tried to blame it all on Matt McCarten. None of these people are good people and they all exploited us, but i think that they are trying to push the blame off of them more and more on to Matt.
Q: So have have you been exploited? How did you hear about coming to NZ, are you a volunteer for the Labour Party?
A: Uhh yeah well allegedy. So they sent out emails to our advisors at university, that they spoke with professors in NZ - and so my advisor recommended this to me, was like "this is a safe programme, go ahead, go" - and so I was like "okay, I'll just go over". I was brought under the idea there would only be like 15 people, and I'd only work 40 hours a week, and the accomodation would be like dorm style accomodation with basic groceries provided, cause that's literally what's written down on our contract that they made me. And so generally everyone got lied to in different ways, cause there are so many people involved in it. But like it's hard to get one strict clear narrative, cause they keep on changing it on these different groups of people cause they split up the email groupings into different categories and stuff like that.
Q: So it's very intentional that they've done this?
A: Yup, it's very intentional. Without a doubt.
Q: So what were the conditions like when you arrived?
A: When I arrived no-one was actually in Auckland and I didn't actually know where I was going, and I didn't know if anyone was actually picking me up from the airport or not. Luckily I got picked up and dropped off at somebody's house and so that was fine, but that was not made known to me before coming over, that I would be living with some random person for a little bit, and then we moved to the marae where we had to build cubicles out of plastic and we also raided this abandoned church for furniture and stuff like that. And basically we made our own accomodation out of like abandonded materials and plastic... it's a very odd situation.
Q: Yeah, definitely sounds like it. Do you have anything else you would like to add?
A: Mostly this is not the Labour Party's fault. It really isn't. They're honestly trying their best and doing as much as they can at their full capacity right now, and I'm really appreciative of it. I just wish that these people didn't lie to all of us in the first place.