Are congratulations in order Ang! Are you perhaps patting yourself on the back for some part you played in RNZ dropping a major story on serious issues at Te Whare Pounamu quicker than a hot potato and then seemingly propelling it to obscurity faster than a .45 bullet?
Maybe not. Maybe that’s just what happens.
Or then again, maybe you need to be on the lookout for ricochets.
In the meantime, I particularly like how you’ve reportedly pivoted to imply that procedures needed to be put in place to protect staff from their current and former colleagues!
Y’know, like this attributed sentence from an apparent Newtalk ZB outlet or affiliate that runs –
“Women’s Refuge Chief Executive, Dr Ange Jury, (sic) says they’ve put policies in place, to keep staff safe from such allegations.”
– where the allegations (as you full well know!) have been found to be well grounded by two investigations, the findings of which were summarised in an inter-agency report produced by MSD.
Now here’s the thing Ang. That MSD report was very clear that if anyone, it was management who had breached codes of conduct and potentially embarrassed Te Whare Pounamu and brought the organisation into disrepute – not the staff who articulated their concerns and who (it seems) you are now keen to demonise in order to protect…well, who do you think you are protecting? The management who have reportedly jeopardised the reputation of Women’s Refuge? The Boards sitting behind those managers?
The same Board and management who, according to Deloittes allowed a culture
“… to operate with clear breaches of policy (in particular Preventing Violence in the Workplace) which is having impacts on the wellbeing of staff”
It’s an odd stance for someone in your position to adopt, is it not? I mean, anyone might have thought your impetus would be to reduce the harm meted out to vulnerable people; on stopping abuse – not to be seen as defending or perpetrating or enabling it on some level or other.
But maybe it’s all too easy for you to adopt such a seemingly incongruous position, yes? There’s that apparent history of staff bringing major operational concerns to the attention of NCIWR only for those concerns to die the death of a thousand obfuscations and fob offs, yes? But not this time.
I mean, you are aware – you must be! – that some of the self same people who were knocked to their arses as part of their concerns being squelched over the years, are on their feet again. That they have voices, and can talk… That they’re talking.
And if comments on various social media platforms are anything to go by, there are plenty more people who, it seems, having quietly walked away, are now looking over their shoulder and thinking about coming back because they have a thing or two to be saying.
Which… talking of talking brings me to an apparent lie you’ve been repeating to media.
“She (that’s you, Ang) said she was unaware of any issues being raised or any complaints being made about Te Whare Pounamu until Miss Thomas’ complaint was brought to the attention of MSD last year by the office of the Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni.”
But here’s the thing. After the meeting with the Chair of the Te Whare Pounamu Board in May of last year, Miss Thomas attempted to contact NCIWR on several occasions, and left a message outlining her situation vis a vis Protected Disclosure, the serious level of her concerns and requesting that she be put in touch with NCIWR’s legal team. There was never any call back or response to any of it. None.
So, if you really didn’t know about Miss Thomas raising issues, then don’t you think you have some some serious work to be doing on communications within NCIWR? And if in fact you do know that Miss Thomas attempted on several occasions to make contact before going to her local MP, then don’t you think it’s time to cut the crap and stop maligning Miss Thomas as some kind of thoughtless or dangerous wrecker?
More generally and somewhat theoretically, can we both agree there would be something particularly distasteful were ‘bad actors’ ever able to attain positions of power and influence within organisations held in high esteem in the public eye – in organisations assumed, unquestionably, to be doing good work? Am I right to assume we’re both able to understand the potential, were the lid to be lifted on such a situation, for a pernicious dynamic to be unleashed, propelled in part by the prevalence of what we might agree to call a “sacred cow” mentality? Meaning that, anyone pointing to unpleasant realities may from the get go, be frowned upon, subjected to abuse and put down – essentially ostracised in the mind of the public, yes? And of course, were that not to happen to a degree required by those hiding behind an organisations good name and reputation, some ‘bad actors’ might also be in a position to immediately roll out a twisted inversion of identity politics as a second line of defence – ie, (and to be delivered with an appropriate level of faux outrage) “I am (insert identity of your choice), so how dare you!?”
It’s stuff that’s really quite horrible and damaging on a number of levels. And it happens. But thankfully it doesn’t wash with everyone, and of course, the head of any organisation primarily focused on abuse, were that organisation ever to find itself in such a position, well…they wouldn’t be having a bar of it, right?
I mean, they’d front foot the situation, and besides siding with any reluctant whistle blowers who were pointing out serious deficiencies and uncomfortable truths, working with them to sort shit out, and taking whatever strides they could to protect existing staff, they’d also look to identify and rectify any structural deficiencies that had facilitated the rise of any malign elements within their organisation.
I mean, I can’t see the head of any such organisation who was worth their salt bending their energies to ensure everything was shut down and then carrying on as if nothing was wrong. Can you?