Newsroom Special Inquiry

Police investigate incident after Young Nats event

Police are investigating an incident following a Young Nationals event in central Auckland last week in which a teenage woman reported inappropriate touching and behaviour by a male Young Nats member.

The incident occurred after the group's Christmas drinks at the Brew on Quay bar last Tuesday. At least two MPs attended the event.

It is understood the woman, aged 17, and some friends went to the young man's apartment near the bar as they were moving to another karaoke venue. They say he had told them he was a wealthy political party donor and there were drinks at his place.

The woman was taken to a room where he allegedly grabbed her face, tried to kiss her and keep her from her friends, at one stage pulling her away from them by her wrists. When she got out of the room and left the flat she was pursued across a road and to a fast food outlet's toilet area as the man allegedly continued to try to grope her.

She reported the matter to police, who involved detectives who took a statement from her over one and a half hours - and then took her to tell her parents what had happened.

Auckland police have confirmed to Newsroom they "are investigating a complaint relating to an alleged incident at an address in Auckland Central on 20 November. Police are currently making inquiries and we are not in a position to provide further details at this stage".

Newsroom has been told the National Party has suspended the Young Nats man involved, barring him from any further events. Another organisation has also blacklisted him from future gatherings.

The woman is not a Young Nats member and was a guest at the event. An MP made aware of the allegations says he called and counselled her and promised any support she might need.

Another person in a governance role of an organisation the young woman is involved in told Newsroom her heart sank when she heard what had happened.

“The main thing is, the first thing we did was listen and take her seriously, and check she was okay.”

The two have had an ongoing conversation online over the past few days.

“She’s a great girl. She’s a very active volunteer, and very interested.”

The police inquiry comes after an earlier investigation into allegations of sexual assault at a Labour Party summer youth camp in February. A man has been charged with four counts of indecent assault and appeared in the Auckland District Court.

In that case the alleged assaults occurred at the party's camp venue, at a party after official Labour business had finished for the day.

The Auckland incident was not at the Young Nationals' venue.

Last night a National Party spokesperson told Newsroom: "We were made aware of an alleged incident that took place at a separate location, after the conclusion of a Young Nationals event last week. The person who brought the issue to our attention gave no further details, or names of those persons involved. 

"In line with our health and safety policies, we acted quickly to offer any support and advice to the person who raised the issue, and this information was passed onto the alleged victim. As this is now a matter for the police, we can’t comment any further."

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