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Te Whare Pounamu #2

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, September 5th, 2019 - 4 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, culture, Ethics, Social issues - Tags: ,

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.

This from the RNZ piece from the other day.

“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?

4 comments on “Te Whare Pounamu #2 ”

  1. Very interesting. Posted 0630, yet still no comments as at 1531

    I'd suggest one explanation is that it shows just how wedded and accustomed we've all become to the cult of managerialism and all that goes with it.

    Meanwhile, at the coalface – good dedicated people continue to 'labour' under the weight of it all.

    Btw….does anyone know if WR has outsourced their collection of donations to a third party? It'd be "best practice" of course.

    • Rosemary McDonald 1.1

      …. one explanation is that it shows just how wedded and accustomed we've all become to the cult of managerialism and all that goes with it.

      Or, it could be that there is a distaste for kicking one of our much beloved sacred cows when she's down.

      Women's Refuge has helped literally tens of thousands of New Zealand women escape violence and abuse. That's tens of thousands of grateful women and their extended families who are potential donors.

      • OnceWasTim 1.1.1

        Indeed @ Rosemary. I just find it interesting how this appears of little interest to people, whilst fucking "Brexit" seems to be of greater concern.

        Oh what a little insecure nayshun we still are.

        As for WR, I suspect there are vast regional differencess. I just know there are a number at the frontline around where I am doing their best, and struggling under the bureaucracy.

      • Bill 1.1.2

        I'd tend to agree that "sacred cow" is probably writ large within the general silence being elicited by these posts of late. Ironically, that in itself becomes a part of the process whereby a "sacred cow" might well become rendered meat patty.

        Leaving vulnerable and abused children twisting in the breeze by refusing to record care and protection notes and follow proper procedures is not a little thing. As said in another post, that has led to the death of children.

        And on that front, the MSD report states – "The practice of not recording care and protection notes on client files should cease immediately."

        But it's still happening.

        Management and Board Members using donated goods as some kind of personal store and management pressuring staff to participate in the practice is also no little thing.

        The MSD report states – Furthermore TWP will adhere to the NCIWR policy by demonstrating that only in exceptional cases, if ever, are donated goods not used for clients or donated on to charitable organisations.

        But it's still happening.

        And of course, the bullying continues and no manager has lost their job and no trustee has stepped down in spite of the MSD report stating that – TWP must also now provide information and a process for dealing with the complaint against the management under the disciplinary processes outlined in the TWP Code of Conduct, or provide direct evidence to the contrary as to why management has not breached the TWP Code of Conduct

        All of the above (and more besides) had an attached deadline of the 16th of August – that deadline being set in place after others for some matters had expired.

        And this is the thing. Ang Jury, instead of sorting shit out, (and to be fair, I’m not sure how empowered she is) is seemingly running around on the cusp of claiming victim-hood status for TWP and Women's Refuge, while casting aspersions on staff who have spoken up and who just happen to be exactly the type of staff crucial for ensuring there exists "thousands of grateful women and their extended families".

        Last thing I'll say.

        Investigators spoke to a good number of current and former staff. People might want to reflect on the fact that they all (not just current staff) felt compelled to give evidence anonymously because (as outlined in the report) they had fears for their personal safety.

        Seriously.

        Think about that.

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