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About Gaurav Sharma

Written By: - Date published: 9:17 am, August 15th, 2022 - 101 comments
Categories: employment, labour, political parties, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

I have hesitated in writing this post and thought it might be better to leave the subject for now.  But it appears that it will not blow over quickly and the Standard has in the past reported on similar events and is a repository of information about left wing politics in Aotearoa.

Last week Labour backbencher Gaurav Sharma penned an opinion piece for the Herald that has attracted attention.

In it he refers to member on member bullying.  No specifics were provided.  He concluded:

Crucial to addressing the bullying issue in Parliament is the role of the Parliamentary Service – which is supposed to be an independent and neutral organisation to provide support to MPs. Their own mandate states that “due to the nature of the organisation, Parliamentary Service staff must uphold the highest standards of integrity and trust. We take pride in the fact that we assist members of Parliament to carry out their roles. As well as displaying high levels of integrity, the Service looks for people with political acumen, exceptional customer service skills and an ability to work collaboratively”.

In my opinion, if only this was true.

He seems to be sensitive to bullying and mentioned it twice in his maiden speech.

About his education at Auckland Grammar he said:

I was bullied at school, but Mr Hawkes and Mr Schmidt taught me to stand up against bullies.

And he made this unusual allegation against an unnamed surgeon which if true should have resulted in the attention of the authorities:

When I was at the university, a prominent paediatric surgeon bullied me for months and said, “You people come to our country, I will kill you and ruin your career.”

To his recent column Labour and a former staffer responded and some specifics have been provided.  Again from the Herald:

A former staffer to Labour MP Dr Gaurav Sharma has spoken out about an alleged culture of bullying that existed in his office, which they claim was so bad it forced them into needing counselling.

The staffer, who the Herald has agreed not to name, described the Hamilton West MP as “controlling” and believed Sharma tried to isolate his staff from other Labour parliamentary staff in Hamilton.

The staffer alleged that by the time they arrived in Sharma’s office, he had already had bad relationships with staff. They said they tried to quit almost immediately, but he talked them into staying.

The staffer said they were reduced to tears within weeks of beginning work, and eventually Parliamentary Service was able to secure counselling for them after they began to feel depressed and considered self-harm.

“I’ve never cried at work before but this guy had me in tears – he couldn’t process my emotion and didn’t want to deal with it. He more or less told me ‘you need to get hard and handle this’,” the staffer claimed.

The behaviour described was pretty controlling and caused immense stress to the staff member.  And Sharma even interfered in the staff member’s right to speak to their manager.

The staffer said they just “let everything out” when speaking to their manager.

“I told her everything I had been experiencing in the office,” the staffer said, adding that Parliamentary Service and the Labour Party had handled the incident well.

“I had to go to counselling.

“I’ve never been depressed or wanted to harm myself. I’m a happy person who has always been positive. I had never known about mental health,” the staffer said.

Sharma has responded in a post that suggests the best thing for him would be to take some time off and rest.  From the Herald:

“Slowly I fell into a cycle of stress, depression and lack of hope as I found myself stuck. I remember one of my former patients sending me very kind message on World Mental Health Day about how I had helped her as a doctor a while ago.

“I thought to myself about how despite listening to and assisting many of my constituents with bullying and harassment issues, I had to put a bold face up as I struggled everyday with the thought of contemplating suicide,” he said.

Eventually, Sharma claims he raised his concerns about bullying with the Prime Minister’s Office.

“I took with me hundreds of pages of evidence – emails, timelines, issues etc to explain my case,” he said.

Sharma said he engaged a lawyer to make his case.

“I was open about this to the Parliamentary Services and the Labour Whips from the moment I hired the lawyer but they thought I was bluffing,” he said.

At a meeting yesterday, Sharma claimed Labour laughed in his face. He said this meeting prompted him to go public with his concerns in his column.

“[They] laugh on my face saying in front of my lawyer ‘how will you even sue us, you have no legal rights’ while repeatedly refusing to investigate anything I have said or investigate me for any issue,” he said.

That last sentence shows some very practical legal advice was given by Duncan Webb who is an experienced lawyer.  And the allegation of misappropriation of Parliamentary Services resources has also been investigated and addressed by Parliamentary Services head Rafael Gonzalez-Montero.  From the Herald:

Gonzalez-Montero told the NZ Herald that was raised last year and he had looked into it and considered the spending was for parliamentary business and within the rules.

“It related to a Wellington-based staff member travelling to a member’s electorate office for the purpose of team building and assisting the wider team. This is normal practice for many members when establishing a new team which has staff dispersed in different regions.”

The Hamilton West LEC is standing behind Sharma.  I commend their loyalty.  It was not too long ago that my LEC and I were involved in a not too dissimilar situation.

But the merits here look shaky.  Repeated staff difficulties suggest that an MP lacks that most basic of skills which Labour MPs should have in abundance and that is the ability to treat their staff with respect.

And while we are on the subject of bullying the definition appears to have been changed dramatically.  Tukituki MP Anna Lorck has also been accused of bullying staff for, checks notes, getting staff to move furniture and driving her when she had a few wines.  The complaints are evidence of a septic relationship, not of bullying.

Everyone needs to have a breather and a cup of tea.  It has been an extraordinarily tough few years and I am afraid the strain is showing.  And to all Parliamentary Services staff can I repeat Darien Fenton’s advice and join your union.

101 comments on “About Gaurav Sharma ”

  1. Psycho Milt 1

    So far, all I've been able to take from this is that many people seem to think "bullying" is them not getting their own way. Unless there's evidence of actual bullying that hasn't been released yet, the take home messages seem to be:

    1. Get a fucking grip on yourself and learn some self-awareness.

    2. Yes, join the damn union, that's what it's there for.

  2. infused 2

    And while we are on the subject of bullying the definition appears to have been changed dramatically. Tukituki MP Anna Lorck has also been accused of bullying staff for, checks notes, getting staff to move furniture and driving her when she had a few wines. The complaints are evidence of a septic relationship, not of bullying.

    It's bullying if this was done in retaliation for something, which is what it sounds like.

    I don't think brushing this over is wise. As much as this guy sounds like he is trying to amplify the claims, your post is coming off as very dismissive.

  3. Tony Parker 3

    Having been a teacher for a long time the bullying word has often been used to describe a wide variety of behaviours/incidents which are often not bullying behaviours at all. The word gets overused/misused. In education this is how we define bullying.

    • Bullying is deliberate – harming another person intentionally
    • Bullying involves a misuse of power in a relationship
    • Bullying is usually not a one-off – it is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time
    • Bullying involves behaviour that can cause harm – it is not a normal part of growing up.

    I would have to say what has been levelled at Anna Lorck is not bullying. People need to have a better understanding of the behaviour before using the B word.

    • As a retired teacher, I can endorse what Tony says above.

      All too often, kids at school resort to the 'he's bullying me' refrain when describing very minor and isolated incidents.

      I'd be very surprised if there was any widespread and systemic bullying in parliament.

      But, hey, what do I know?

    • Mike the Lefty 3.2

      Good explanation Tony.

  4. AB 4

    Would be interesting to know how long National have had this 'story' on the shelf, waiting to activate it when a diversion is needed. My pick is a few weeks at least. A quiet word to the NZ Herald: "there's trouble in Sharma's office, have a chat with him, he's a bit of a loose cannon and might talk" .

    • infused 4.1

      Pretty sure he covered that off. This has been on-going. Nationals issues might have been the catalyst to go nuclear I guess. who knows.

  5. xy 6

    I was pretty unimpressed with the section in his FB post that focused really heavily on 'i want my staffer to be fired, i refused on principle to do a deal because they were such a waste of taxpayer money that it was important that they be punished', one of those cases where people telling their side of the story were extremely unconvincing.

    • Barfly 6.1

      This bloke really needs to read up on (or re-read)


      Comments such as "'I want my staffer to be fired"

      "important that they be punished"

      That plus his maiden speech where he references bullying at both School and University.

      These combined lead me to believe that Dr. Sharma inhabits a world dominated by him being both a "victim and a persecutor"

      Bullying is often extremely toxic especially in the formative years and I fear his experiences in his youth has dominated his mind in that he now sees the world through the lenses of the "drama triangle". Counselling in this area would likely be very beneficial – if he able to grasp that the counselling itself is to assist him rather than bully him.

      Frankly the Labour Party should take steps to be much more aware of this type of dysfunction so they do not select candidates with these issues.

      • xy 6.1.1

        (to be clear what I had there was my paraphrase, the actual text was

        'there was no investigation into serious claims I had made about the incompetence of a staff member. [..] Their solution included paying a severance pay from taxpayer’s purse to a person who had been repeatedly underperforming. I refused on principle, doing this would mean a double wastage of public money. I kept being pushed to concede but I refused. Eventually they cut a deal with the staff member to encourage them to resign from my office (I did not pay this person out because I stood by my claims which were never and still haven’t been investigated' )

        • Anker

          xy, perhaps Dr Sharma should move to the Act Party as they are very keen to stop the wastage of the tax payers money.

      • Patricia Bremner 6.1.2

        yes Agree with all points. Barfly.

    • lprent 6.2

      …one of those cases where people telling their side of the story were extremely unconvincing.

      That was what came across to me as well.

      MPs aren't the employer, Parliamentary services are. It sounds like this MP fundamentally doesn't understand that. It also don't appear to have the skills to manage staff on any basis apart from adversarial. This isn't uncommon. However this case appears to be extreme.

      He seems to have been trying to push PS employees out using a political pressure having used up all of his goodwill with PS. You can tell that has happened because PS have removed his ability to be involved in employment matters. That will usually happen after a MP has already previously fucked up employment matters.

      The rest of this saga that has come out appears to have been him trying to use political pressure on PS staff. That is an absolute no-no and points to someone who simply hasn't bothered to look at their position and hasn't been taking any advice.

      So far this sounds like a MP who simply shouldn't be allowed to run PS staff in his current state of mind.

      I'd be interested in exploring ways to remove all Parliamentary Services support from him until he has been through and clearly passed some really basic management training. Having that support isn't a right, and it appears that this MP has forfeited the privilege.

      I'd also suggest that this MP needs a couple of months working at ground level with a union.

      Parliamentary services have been getting better over the decades at both supporting their staff and supporting MPs in their large electorates with a dual job in Wellington. But clearly this MP doesn't understand it.

      • Shanreagh 6.2.1

        Very fair and wise words lPrent.

      • Peter 6.2.2

        The training to be doctor is intensive. Everyone knows how difficult it is to get a place in the Medical schools for a start. It is always surprising when the occasional person who has been through the rigorous training shows astonishing human limitations and failings.

        • Shanreagh

          As an old time feminist with knowledge of the old 'hot and cold Doctors' file back in the 1970s/80s I used to joke that training in interpersonal skills for trainee Doctors was scheduled for Wednesday afternoons when there was either rugby practice or university rugby games happening.

          I am disappointed that the idea that high qualifications means equally high people management skills is still around. There is NO correlation. People learn it or they have innate or native skills that can be built on.

          I have seen people who left school at age 16 with better staff management skills than some professionally trained people I have worked with. The trouble is that for some, often along with the training, comes an inbuilt arrogance that their prof training means they can manage people.

      • Darien Fenton 6.2.3
        • 1
  6. Grant Insley 7

    When trying to comment on any NZ Herald FB posts relating to this matter (and others of a political/media nature, I'm immediately censored with this message:

    May be an image of text that says "No No permission to to add comment or tryin... Sorry, you may not have permission to add this comment or the original post may have been deleted. OK"

  7. Sanctuary 8

    Stuff seems to be implying the letter from Sharma's local Labour party branch may not, errr, be a legitimate use of the letterhead, shall we say.

    "…Sharma also received a letter in support of him, which was sent to various media and apparently signed by 20 local members of the Hamilton West branch of the Labour Party. It is understood that the membership of the branch is significantly higher than 20 people.

    The letter, which bears 20 signatures but which was not signed by a party member in particular, called for an in-depth inquiry into the issue raised by Sharma…"

  8. tsmithfield 9

    It is easy to get political about all this, and try and score political points.

    However, I think it is important to view many issues, including bullying, within a wider context to understand the behaviour, and perhaps have a bit more forgiveness.

    There is a saying "hurt people hurt people".

    In the case of bullying, I think a degree of transference can occur. Someone might be being bullied themselves. Because they are unable to directly fight back against the bullying they are enduring, they can transfer that hurt towards bullying someone weaker. So, subconsciously, they are trying to punish their bullies by engaging in bullying themselves.

    In retrospect, I think that explains in part why I was a dreadful bully towards my younger brother. At the time I was being bullied quite badly myself.

    In the instance of King's College, where Unffindell was a bully, it appears there was a culture of bullying.

    So, it is likely that he also would have been a target of bullying as a young student.

    It seems to me what needs to happen is that bullying cultures need to be addressed rather than just the behaviour of individual members of that culture. Otherwise, the behaviour will continue in a never-ending bullying sequence.

    • Nic the NZer 9.1

      From what has been reported, the Sharma case, is not a bullying example at all. Its an employment practice being applied which protects staff in a somewhat vulnerable position. And an MP wanting to override that process to punish an employee not meeting their personal standards.

      The main culture point is that PS should stick strictly to the rules, even if thats letting the staff have it easy. Thats just what PS have been doing.

      Sharma is alleging shorthand for fraud by some ex-staff, which clearly doesn't fit, even if they didn't meet his expectations.

      • Belladonna 9.1.1

        There are 2 separate instances of bullying being alleged, by different people:

        1. A staffer in Sharma's office claims that he was bullying her.

        2. Sharma claims that he was being bullied by the Whips (McAnulty) in particular.

        We don't really have enough details to determine if either (or both) or them are or are not bullying. In both instances, we have one side of the story.

        The involvement of Parliamentary Services is pretty much a red-herring so far as the bullying allegations go. They're peripherally involved.

        • Nic the NZer

          On the contrary PS are basically central. In the case of 1, as it appears to be, then PS process is impeading behaviour by the MP which could be bullying. Clearly an employment practice we should keep.

          In the case its 2, which appears much less likely, then maybe one MP is using PS process to impeade another. Though PS obviously have less push back here, maybe Ardern would have some strong words to the whips.

          And if it is bullying, good luck getting the other side out of the bully.

  9. dottie 10

    Problem of bullying ?

    I think that the likely problem is self entitlement, Sharma's

  10. Reality 11

    Dr Sharna appears to have had difficulty transitioning from his former medical role to that of a new MP with little understanding or desire to learn how Parliament functions. And consequently has been complaining ever since about his staff, the Whips, Parliamentary Service, other MPs. Think it was Sir Keith Holyoke who said many years ago that new MPs should "breath through their nose".

    • James Simpson 11.1

      I think he was one of those candidates that would have never expected to actually make it into parliament, and Labour probably didn't either.

      He was ranked 63 at the election and was standing in a bluish seat where Tim Macindoe had won the previous 4 elections.

      Then the 2020 election landslide happened and he found himself in Wellington unprepared

  11. Visubversa 12

    IMHO – working for MPs is a bit like caring for racehorses or athletes. You have a bunch of high performance people – working long hours, and in high stress circumstances. The one I know who does it best trained by working for surgeons.

  12. Belladonna 13

    “In it he refers to member on member bullying. No specifics were provided.”

    Just adding to the information provided, Sharma has subsequently been quite clear and specific in his bullying accusations against McAnulty.

    The main bully was Kieran McAnulty who kept gaslighting me, shouting at me, degrading me in front of caucus members and other attendees at events and telling me that I was a terrible MP. His staff members at the Whips Office were the same. One of the most clearest examples was on the night of the America’s Cup final race where he asked me to come to his room for a meeting on a very short notice, but when I got there I was advised that he had to be in an important meeting so couldn’t make it. I spent close to 2 hours sitting with Kieran McAnulty’s staff in his office being told how terrible a manager I was, with no right of reply. But what was most sickening was that when I came out I saw photos of him drinking and celebrating the America’s Cup final while I sat in his office like a school kid at the headmaster’s office.

    Whether you believe him, or not is another matter – but he's certainly provided detail.


    • Psycho Milt 13.1

      The only detail is of one incident, in which he was told by McAnulty's staff how "terrible" a manager he was, and I doubt that "terrible" is a direct quote of what they said. Unfortunately for him, it sounds like he is a terrible manager.

      The fact that McAnulty didn't attend the meeting isn't bullying. That part just comes across as Sharma feeling his sense of self-importance was insufficiently flattered.

      • Belladonna 13.1.1

        "Kieran McAnulty who kept gaslighting me, shouting at me, degrading me in front of caucus members and other attendees at events" – sounds like bullying to me.

        Calling someone to a meeting, and then not turning up, isn't exactly good management practice, either.

        But, as I said, only one side of this being given at the moment….

        • Psycho Milt

          Sounds like vague allegations with no details to me.

          And it's seriously nothing unusual to find your meeting with a senior manager has been delegated to one of their staff. It's annoying but it's not bullying. It's even more annoying if you find the senior manager wasn't there because they were out on the piss, but still not bullying.

          Sharma was a surgeon, a notoriously self-important profession. It's often the case that men who are used to giving the orders struggle to cope if they're suddenly put in a position where they're the subordinate, and this case reeks of it.

          • Crashcart

            I manage people and am managed. I do work overseas with my team.

            I would never consider treating a team member even remotely like described here. If you have constructive opportunities for improvement to give then you make the time, you sit down with that person, and you give it to them straight with an opportunity to reply. You don't book it for out of hours, not bother turning up because you are on the piss, and not provide an opportunity for that member to respond to you.

            If I was treated in this way you can be damn sure that I would be finding that manager and giving them some direct feed back on their management style and would be considering a formal complaint on the matter.

            This sort of behaviour doesn't sound like an isolated incident. To treat someone this way you either have to be terrible to everyone or have a completely broken relation ship with the individual. Based upon what has been said I would gather it is the latter and if that is the case, the person who is not in the position of power might very well perceive it as bullying.

            Pretty put off by the number of people I have seen on here and on Twitter who are dismissing this as nothing. If it had been Tallies instead of Labour they would have been all over it.

            • Nic the NZer

              This incident sounded to me like McAnulty's staff providing some direct feedback on his staff management skills, while Sharma thought it was a 'speak to your manager' situation (which it wasn't).

              • Crashcart

                Again this sounds like a fob off. A meeting like this needs to be handled correctly. He needs to be aware that it will be a meeting involving this sort of feedback and offered the opportunity to have a support person. He needs to know who will be involved.

                The history of bullying in Parliament leads me to think I believe Sharma more than I do the guy who went on the piss and had his staff word in an elected member of parliament.

                • Nic the NZer

                  That would be the case if Sharma was the subordinate here. Sharma was the more senior in this case however, he's under zero real obligation to adapt to this feedback (even if its actually quite constructive criticism). And its my present reading between the lines impression. The tone doesn't have to actually match Sharma's obviously quite negative impression which may be just how he interprets criticism.

                  • Shanreagh


                    You only take notice or adapt if someone your senior says something? If this is the prevailing view in the professions no wonder we are having trouble.

                    A fair minded and real person will accept and work on or with criticism no matter where it comes from. This is especially important if it is about interpersonal relations, in a tiny office where time critical work is often being done. There is no correlation between professional qualification and adeptness at managing staff.

                    If I was working in Dr Sharma's office and felt brave enough to tackle his people managing faults as they applied to me, then I expect them to be listened to carefully and examined to see if there was a way to be come a better boss/person.

                    If I did not feel brave enough but did feel OK about going to Parliamentary Service and they felt that that there was scope for improvement and contacted Dr Sharma then they would be expecting to have their views carefully listened to and improvements made.

                    If it was felt that this approach had to come from a Whip, then I would be working quick smart to see if there was merit. In the hierarchy Whips maintain discipline and MPs in this case would be subordinate to them.

                    It would be totally different if it was a peer, say another surgeon or GP or professional body in the capacity of his work as a GP or surgeon.

                    If Sharma got to the Whips office and found that the meeting was not able to take place at the time a sensible person would have waited for a wee while then left with a polite message that he was going back to his rooms and could be contacted there, or going out for a coffee or, or, or……

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Dr Sharma is an MP. He's ultimately not in parliament for his people management skills. I'm merely trying to interpret his face book posts in a coherent way while understanding he posted these events on face book as he understood them.

                      And in the context of this thread Crashcart was making out like this was a professional reprimand. It was nothing of the sort and those expectations of support and due process don't apply.

                      I don't think Dr Sharma will be taking a support person into a genuine disciplinary meeting with caucus either.

                      Finally, keep in mind, I'm not an MP and am in no way describing my own behaviour or a description of what I think is reasonable behaviour in similar circumstances.

      • Anne 13.1.2

        The fact that McAnulty didn't attend the meeting isn't bullying. That part just comes across as Sharma feeling his sense of self-importance was insufficiently flattered.

        Yep. That piece of insight is coming through loud and clear. Sharma is piling on the superlatives in an attempt to enhance his claims and degrade his perceived enemies. Anyone who is truly being bullied and intimidated does not behave like that.

        • Shanreagh

          To Nic. I realise you are not an MP or describing your actions? We have only Dr Sharma's views and the counterviews/expalnations where they are available.

          An MP should always have the greatest respect for the office of the Whip and for the role they play. If the Whips feel that by not adopting best practice people management skills that Dr Sharma has the potential to bring either Parliament, Government or the Labour Party into disrepute then a sensible person would sit up and listen.

          In essence it is a little like a reprimand though most MPs would not let it get this far. It can happen over a point of political principle and how far the party will be able to go to accommodate this in an MP.

          Dr Sharma could be with an MP buddy and Labour party officials could be invited to Caucus including local LEC.

          I think after the intensive involvement of PS you would need to be pretty thick skinned to bat off an approach to discuss best practice staffing in your office so that it escalates from PS up to the Whips.

  13. observer 14

    The media memory hole is amazing.

    Collins: tough, uncompromising … "always gives back double".

    Willis and Bishop: tore Muller to shreds in a late night caucus, widely reported as brutal.

    John Key: "you support rapists". Female MPs then courageously stand up to describe their experiences of sexual assault. Speaker Carter throws them out of the House.

    Those were the good old days, before there was bullying in Parliament, eh?

    If anyone else has forgotten …


    • I remember Marilyn Warring Waipa MP from 1975-1984 who was treated appallingly and had recounted how National MP's man handled her into the aye lobby on legislation she said she would vote against when Muldoon's majority was only one ( 1981-1984 ) and was threatened with having legislation she championed not sent to the governor general in order it would not be passed into law.

      The bullying culture has always been a fact of life in parliament which reflects New Zealand society generally.

  14. Ad 15



    was not a deliberate response to:


    then it sure looks like one team pulled an attack-file in answer to the other.

    Like SpyVersusSpy from the old Mad Magazine.

    • newsense 15.1

      It does seem amazing how political experts such as Corin Dann and Jane Patterson are able to see how this is an enormous bad look for Labour, but are unable to see the whataboutism and distinguish between :

      A) an unprecedented landslide providing an MP who is patently, particularly from the way this week has been handled, unable to cope with some of the requirements of his job, for which he has been receiving help which he is not overly happy to be receiving.

      B) an MP who has shown a pattern of cowardly violent behavior to those in a weaker position than himself to the bar of criminal assault, has tried to keep that history from his electors, a party that also withheld that information and following a pattern with other candidates, did not consider it disqualifying until it was made public.

      It seems sometimes when the matter is obviously principle, as with the Greens leadership, they can only talk about the horse race. Now when it seems like file B v file A it is only a matter of principle of File B. Muddy the waters and no one can swim.

      I thought the Prime Minister was very clear about this, in a manner that provided a stark contrast between the two potential leaderships on offer at the next election. Leaving out the bash and blame the poor 90s style and austerity without examples re-run of the worst of conservatism’s recent offerings that has been dredged up as their policy alternatives.

  15. roy cartland 16

    Gordon Campbell on "Sharma Chameleon" (excellent nickname) is pretty unsympathetic, not least because Sharma "has not so far offered any evidence that can be investigated and tested" in all his rants.

    But here's the thing: He may be a snowflake, or a Pyrrhus, or a plant… but the Labour caucus is meeting and, ostensibly at least, doing something. Not sweeping him out or dead-catting or minimising. Maybe the guy had a single agenda and that was to change Parl's culture?

  16. observer 17

    When you try and ambush the PM at her post-cab press conference, which is essentially what Sharma did this afternoon, then it seems fair to say that you're not looking for good faith engagement and conflict resolution.

    • James Simpson 17.2

      If his allegations are true (which I don't think on balance they are), wouldn't you do the same?

      If I was a junior MP being genuinely bullied, I would go straight for the head as well.

  17. Robert Guyton 18

    "you might need to have your hand held while you cross the road in the political traffic."


  18. Treetop 19

    Sharma does not trust the process when it comes to raising how he feels about conduct toward him as an MP.

    What sort of outcome did he want?

    I do think that Parliamentary Services need to look into what McAnulty has said to Sharma and to his staff about Sharma. When it comes to the staff member in Sharma's office there is a power imbalance and the staff member needs to be listened to.

    Who initially allocated the staff in Sharma's office?

    An MP should have a say.

    • Darien Fenton 19.1

      MPs do have a say. They are the controlling employer. I have never seen staff "allocated" to an MP's office.

      • Treetop 19.1.1

        I saw The weird arrangement for MPs staffers after I made my comment.

        I have given the process of Parliamentary Service (PS) some more thought. I can see the relationship between the MP and PS being the decision maker.

        When it comes to a review process between the MP and PS is there one and who does it?

        As for the staffers of the MP they have a union or they can have mediation.

  19. Sacha 20

    Hospital surgeons are not generally renowned for respecting other health professionals. Ask any nurse.

  20. Richard 21

    Everyone needs to have a breather and a cup of tea.

    Really? In the circumstances a little more proactivity seems warranted. Bullying has no place in a modern workplace

  21. MickeyBoyle 22

    One News reporting tonight that a second Labour MP has come forward and said there were bullying issues within the party, as well as Parliament.

    Dr Sharma

    Louisa Wall

    And now this currently unnamed MP.

    It's a poor look to be downplaying this and effectively dismissing Gaurav's accusations, due to some of his own issues.

    A independent investigation should be taking place.

  22. Peter 23

    Sharma's allegation of misappropriation of Parliamentary Services resources is so Donald Trump. Put out bullshit to smear and create the impression of wrong doing. That becomes the headline. The routine checks after the event to show it was rubbish becomes a mere background side note.

    For someone who seems to have struggled in the political environment he sure as hell in a short term learned how to play dirty.

  23. Maurice 24

    Just nail this on the wall of every member's office?

    . I was then told by Duncan Webb in clear terms that “the only way this country can succeed is if Labour is in government. Government means Labour. So the Party comes first and foremost before the country.”

    • I know Duncan, and I'd be very surprised if he said that. He may well have said something about loyalty to the party, but 'party above country?' No, no way!

      Our good doctor is making things up!

        • LOL. You've quoted the words of a third party, whose veracity and integrity have been called into question, and ascribed the words to Duncan Webb!

          But hey, just another example of the dishonesty and immorality of the right!

      • Crashcart 24.1.2

        Plenty of people "have known" domestic abusers and been shocked when they found out what happens at home. Just because this isn't your experience of him doesn't mean it isn't true.

    • Psycho Milt 24.2

      Depends on how willing you are to take Sharma's word for it, I guess. There are of course many very gullible people out there, so no doubt some do.

  24. Patricia Bremner 25

    In 65 people plus staff?? how many?? the % of unhappy bods… 5 to 10 %??? After 5 years… 3of them very difficult Pandemic years..to be expected and managed.

    The big problem is non acceptance of rules and regulations, and a failure to accept advice. imo. His failure to admit any contribution to the problems says it all.

  25. PsyclingLeft.Always 26

    Labour MP Dr Gaurav Sharma is almost certain to face a vote to suspend or expel him from Labour’s caucus for his repeated salvoes at the party after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called a special caucus meeting to deal with the issue.


    How will he handle this? Probably..not well….

    • Jimmy 26.1

      He knows his political career with Labour party is over, so he will probably try to dump more damaging information if he has any.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 26.1.1

        Of course. And being so self absorbed ..he wont see where THAT will take him. Ah well.

  26. tsmithfield 27

    The problem is that other Labour MPs are coming out of the woodwork also alleging bullying within the Labour party.

    From the article:

    "Another Labour Party MP, who did not wish to be named, said there were bullying issues within the party, as well as Parliament.''


    "He [Sharma] added screenshots to the post. None of the screenshots he posted had names or dates attached and no MPs have come forward with bullying allegations.

    He posted a screenshot from a message that said the person wanted to say to another MP "that I've caught a cold off the boy and therefore I'm not well and off to get a test".

    "What are the steps for me so I don't f*** things up. How long do I have to sit this out etc? I want to avoid going in on Wednesday and Thursday."

    Another said, "I fear that I will have serious mental health related issues staying here bro".

    "I feel like I'm being poisoned."

    He added another screenshot that said, "I feel the same. Every day I wake up wondering if I'm going to be in trouble."

    The message had a reply, which appeared to be from Sharma, saying, "Yeah man. This place is so bad to work at. So much talk about kindness but none shown.""

    I imagine Labour leadership will be furious about all of this. I don't know if the Uffindell saga was due to a Labour hit job. But if it was, it has seriously blown back in their face, as all the attention and pressure has gone off National and is now on Labour.

    Expelling or suspending Sharma will also be problematic, as that will feed into the bullying narrative, and may cut Sharma loose to really speak his mind.

    • Sacha 27.1

      I don't know if the Uffindell saga was due to a Labour hit job.

      Nope. Enough locals knew the backstory.

      • Crashcart 27.1.1

        There are people in this very thread acting like National somehow had Sharma in its back pocket with these accusations ready to go, just in case.

        It amazes me how people think this is all completely planned as opposed to managed chaos.

    • Shanreagh 27.2

      The Whips have a tough job. In a Minister's office they are the ultimate controllers of House attendance/leave etc. I imagine the same would apply to backbenchers. They are in charge of the majority, in mustering attendance, or 'whipping' the MPs. They cannot be handholding on a first level basis but clearly have a role when 'things' happen.

      There are avenues for having good staff and that is working closely with those whose job it is to approve and pay them, Parliamentary Service.

      People doing tough jobs, with a single minded focus are not necessarily bullies and neither are people letting you know that you are not doing a good job or providing advice on how to do a better job. This is not bullying, as we can see from the input of the teachers above.

      Again those who have been used to calling the shots may find it difficult to adapt to an environment where control is diffuse ie not hierarchical or by people with a qualification different to yours.

      If you have a look at lists of who have been appointed as Whips from any party you will see a certain kind of person is best suited to this.

      Speaking as one who had 4 years there we used to dread the flashing up of the Whip's extension on our phones as that meant your Minister was not where they should be and it was your job to track them down. In times when majorities were tight and house leave was equally tight these were tough people doing a tough job.

      Having later experienced real bullying this tough approach was nothing like bullying.

  27. Anne 28

    Some people on this site seem to have already forgotten that this saga started because at least three staff members in Sharma's office went to Parliamentary Service to complain about what sounds much like bully boy behaviour by Sharma. They complained separately at different times and PS correctly adjudged there was a problem in Sharma's office that needed addressing.

    Sharma chose to repudiate the staff claims (bullies always do) and to reject any offer of assistance from PS and, by the looks of it, the Labour whips. He then went on a rampage of accusations against PS, the whips and god knows who else claiming he was the one being bullied. (Bullies always do that too when they find themselves cornered.)

    So, all the petty-fogging snippets around who said what, when, where is superfluous because we already know what happened. The question should be: what to do with Sharma.

    Bullying goes on in every political party. Its the nature of the game. Provided it is properly managed and the targets are not left dangling with no support then it isn't usually a major problem. But every now and then an MP goes completely rogue… Jamie Lee Ross (he of the three names) for National, and now Sharma for Labour. A bit of quid pro quo there.

  28. Finn McCool 29

    Barry Soper claims the Uffindell saga was a Labour hit job. Soper also claims to know the perpetrator(s) involved. Who knows if that's true. Given the amount of skeletons rattling around parliament, Labour should've STFU if Soper's allegations are on point. No political party can afford this crap leading up to a general election.

  29. Sacha 30

    Burned bridges https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/129583311/gaurav-sharma-and-the-labour-caucus-it-is-now-a-question-of-trust

    But it has been Sharma’s response that will be now wearing thin with colleagues. Continued public missives on social media, including one on Monday timed to coincide with Ardern’s weekly post-Cabinet press conference – which she subsequently faced questions about – will not have endeared him to colleagues.

    It seemed designed to inflict damage on Labour. For the Labour caucus, that sort of deliberate undermining is unlikely to be tolerated. Whether Sharma came up with that plan himself is another, and potentially more worrying question for Labour.

    The great irony is that many Labour MPs were genuinely concerned about him last Friday, accompanied by curiosity about what prompted his sudden public outburst. Even privately, most MPs basically said they hoped he was OK, and that whatever was behind the missive could be sorted out

    Now it looks like it will only be resolved in one way.

  30. Stuart Munro 31

    I expect it will go poorly for the doctor.

    He said she said is neither characteristic of maturity, nor likely to endear one to higher ups. Even Malpass, Stuff's Taxpayer Onion Doomcaller is still waiting for any substantive material to drop.

    Sharma, who will always compare unfavourably to vertically grilled barbecue, seems to be suffering from solipsism – a very nurturing belief system, but one that does nothing to facilitate relationships with other people. You can make it work if you're the boss, but Sharma is not the boss.

    I don't expect the matter will last very long – and if it's the worst the government suffer from their unprecedented influx of inexperienced MPs they'll have done pretty well.

  31. Anne 32

    Parliament is not sitting at the moment so Labour MPs couldn't discuss the Sharma revelations with one another in person prior to today's formal meeting, so they got together last night via Zoom:



  32. Barfly 33

    “I was open about this to the Parliamentary Services and the Labour Whips from the moment I hired the lawyer but they thought I was bluffing,” he said.

    “[They] laugh on my face saying in front of my lawyer ‘how will you even sue us, you have no legal rights’ while repeatedly refusing to investigate anything I have said or investigate me for any issue,” he said.

    Sharma does not appear to be the shiniest can in the six pack. His lawyer serves what point? Sharma is not the employer of the staff in his office – he literally has no standing legally. This man has been paid more than 250k in salary in the time that he has been there and he still doesn't understand the employment structure of Parliamentary Staff? FFS What a self-absorbed, myopic clown of a man.

  33. Chess Player 34

    What with the Greens issues with Shaw, National with Uffindel, then Labour with Sharma it looks like the only stable parties are TPM and ACT!

  34. kelvyn stevens 35

    There are two issues. One is Dr Sharma's allegations. That should be a private matter, handled within the party. The second issue is the one that concerns us and that is Dr Sharma spilled his guts in public, and that is totally unacceptable. He won't be in parliament as a labour member after the next election. Incidentally, his LEC support him because if they don't there will be another faction within the Hamilton branch that will replace them if they don't. Its politics.

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