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Sweatshop claims over Labour programme

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/06/2017

<span style="color:#333333;font-size:13px;background-color:#ebebe4;">Act Party leader David Seymour has called on Immigration New Zealand to investigate the programme, which involves 85 overseas students.</span> © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Act Party leader David Seymour has called on Immigration New Zealand to investigate the programme, which involves 85 overseas students. A Labour Party linked Campaign for Change programme involving overseas students has been labelled a "sweatshop" amid claims student are living in slum conditions.

Act Party leader David Seymour has called on Immigration New Zealand to investigate the programme, which involves 85 overseas students.

The programme was originally pitched as being non-partisan but is run by Labour leader Andrew Little's former chief of staff Matt McCarten, and it's understood party officials have stepped in to deal with the complaints.

Students in the programme reportedly work for free but take part in training including lectures with Mr Little, his deputy Jacinda Ardern and former prime minister Helen Clark.

News website Politik claimed on Thursday to have seen emails showing students have held two meetings with party officials because of complaints about their Auckland accommodation and the work they've been recruited to do.

"Most were shocked at where they have been living and what they have been doing, but are afraid to make too big a fuss in case it is cancelled, an they get stuck in NZ for weeks until their return flights," one email said, according to Politik.

Pictures of the accommodation allegedly show cramped dormitory style rooms, broken showers, and construction material piled beside mattresses.

The work reportedly includes phone soliciting, door knocking or recruiting votes and volunteers on university campuses.

Mr Seymour called the programme a "sweatshop filled with immigrant labour".

"Who would believe Labour are the champions of the working class when their own foreign sourced campaigners write to them to complain about conditions and are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement," Mr Seymour said on Thursday.

"This is a new low for hypocrisy, even for them."

Labour has been contacted for comment.

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