Written By: - Date published: 9:27 am, December 1st, 2018 - 135 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, national, newspapers, Politics, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: maggie barry
I am sure this is just a case of awful bad luck and there is nothing to the allegations. But Maggie Barry is the latest MP to be accused of bullying.
The Herald has the details:
National MP Maggie Barry has been twice investigated over bullying claims this year – including accusations she expected staff to do political party work on taxpayer time, which would be unlawful.
The Weekend Herald can reveal two employees in Barry’s four-person office have accused her of bullying since May – one in a personal grievance complaint, and the other during the investigation of that complaint.
Neither staff member now works for Barry, the MP for the North Shore and the former host of Maggie’s Garden Show, a once-beloved staple of New Zealand television.
Barry concedes there were issues raised by former staff, but they were resolved “by mutual agreement” and “there was no finding that bullying or harassment had occurred”.
And she is backed up by a different former staff member who said she never saw any bullying behaviour from Barry, though she added that everyone has different ideas about what constitutes bullying.
The details make interesting reading:
The Weekend Herald has obtained documents which show that during its investigations in August this year, Parliamentary Service heard allegations that Barry:
• swore and yelled at staff;
• called an employee “stupid”;
• used derogatory terms about other elected officials, which made staff uncomfortable;
• referred to people with mental health issues using offensive terms like “nutter”;
• discussed her employees’ sexuality in the workplace;
• expected staff would do work for the National Party during office hours, which they felt unable to refuse while knowing it was wrong, because they were scared.
One staffer told investigators he believed there was a huge power imbalance and that Barry was “terrifying” and could “destroy my career”.
When questioned by Parliamentary Service in August, Barry denied all of the allegations.
“In particular, she disputes the claims regarding her attitude and comments attributed regarding people with mental health issues,” the investigation notes from her interview read.
“[She says] she does not use profanities and doesn’t swear or behave inappropriately… MB absolutely refutes that she expects staff to complete party work during work time.”
However, the Weekend Herald has heard recordings which appear to show Barry swearing in a work context, and others where she appears to call a local board member “barking”, one a “waste of space”, and another “a duplicitous piece of shite”.
There was some interesting disclosures in the Herald story that raise questions about National’s use of Parliamentary Services resources:
A former staffer who came forward to the Weekend Herald told Parliamentary Service that, during some weeks, up to half his work was party work. Parliamentary rules strictly stipulate party work is not part of support staff’s job.
According to her interview with investigators, Barry knew it was against the rules.
But in a different recording obtained by the Weekend Herald, Barry said the opposite to the staffer the day he was due to give evidence for his co-worker’s personal grievance case.
In it she said writing brochures on office time was “legitimate”, while acknowledging the investigators would not be impressed if they found out.
“It’s how the world goes around,” she said. “You know the lay of the land.”
No doubt the right will say WHHAAATT AAABBOUTT MEEEKKKKKAAAA. They are right that all instances of bullying and inappropriate treatment of staff need to be dealt with. But Whaitiri received a significant consequence.
And what is it with all the recordings of conversations. Does everyone working in a National Party office engage in the surreptitious recording of conversations?
It will be interesting to see how Simon Bridges handles this. I suspect that his complete lack of power over his caucus will show and nothing will happen.
This tweet did not age well …
What a disloyal disgrace this flawed & isolated individual has become. Having now read the PWC report I personally believe the unpleasant & bullying pattern of behaviour of Jami Lee Ross has no place in an otherwise united National Caucus under our leader Simon Bridges. https://t.co/Y5xXzUtffr
— Maggie Barry MP (@maggiebarrynz) October 15, 2018