Friday, June 30, 2023

Cam Slater: Will the Kiri Allan Issue End Like Michael Wood’s?

We are seeing yet another slow-moving scandal threatening to envelop the Labour Party while Chris Hipkins is on his knees begging in China. Kiri Allan is the latest minister to be accused of bullying, and it appears to be rather more serious than the minister is letting on.

Stuff reports:

A staffer seconded to work with Cabinet Minister Kiritapu Allan chose to leave early because of concerns about “working relationships” in the office.

Problems in the Beehive office saw Department of Conservation chief executive Penny Nelson take her concerns to the Department of Internal Affairs, which manages Ministerial Services.

Stuff understands that other senior public servants – including from Emergency Management, and the Ministry of Business, innovation and Employment – have also voiced concerns about how staff were treated.

The allegations are that the Minister is a bully. This is not really a secret in the streets of Wellington. For a Chief Executive to escalate it to the Department of Internal Affairs rather suggests that it must be very bad. But not that you’d know it from Kiri Allan; she is seriously trying to gaslight us all into believing that she knows nothing.

Cabinet minister Kiri Allan is rejecting the description of events provided by the head of the Department of Conservation (DOC) over claims of a breakdown in the relationship with staff.

DOC director-general Penny Nelson in a statement on Wednesday confirmed reports a staff member had ended their secondment to Allan’s office early more than a year ago, because working relationships were “not running as smoothly” as they might.

Nelson said it was bad enough that she discussed it with Internal Affairs, which manages Ministerial Services, but no further concerns were brought to her attention and she believed relationships had improved.

The prime minister’s office said no formal complaints and no further issues had been raised after work was done to improve the situation.

What Kiri Allan forgets to mention, and most bullies do this, is that maybe, just maybe, the reason why she has not had any formal complaints is because the staff members are afraid of her.

There is plenty more to come on this if my sources are to be believed and there has been quite a bit of lying going on around who knew what, and when. The claims of no “formal complaint” will likely be seen for the lies they were when the documents start dropping.

That’s why I believe that this has all the hallmarks of a slow-moving scandal that will come to its inevitable conclusion when Chris Hipkins accepts another minister’s resignation.

Right now, though, all these scandals are creating an impression that this Labour Government is no longer fit to govern.

Cam Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger, best known for his role in Dirty Politics and publishing the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, which operated from 2005 until it closed in 2019. This article was first published HERE


David Lillis said...

It's hard to gauge a person like Allen because we cannot see her day-to-day but, unfortunately, New Zealand is a bullying society. About fifteen years ago I had one negative experience with a former Minister (Mr. P. H.) and I found him to be a nasty piece of work.

As a former public servant, I can affirm horrific bullying in some departments and ministries - I saw it myself at close range.

We have much to do to rectify the problem. We could start by re-casting the mandates of Chief Executives and making them accountable to the public for creating safe workplaces. We pay them very handsomely (far too much, actually, and they are not worth it - and many of the second-tier executives and middle-managers are not worth it either - if their main claim to fame is damaging others).

Appoint managers with life experience and subject matter expertise. Too many young, immature managers who are ambitious for themselves only and too many poorly-qualified middle managers smashing the living daylights out of people who are more expert and more highly-qualified than the managers.

Several former Chief Executives have received titles and accolades (e.g. Companion of the Queen’s Service Order) but we ( and I too) remember them as abusive, vindictive people who actually appear to enjoy bullying unfavored staff out of their jobs and enjoy tearing people apart at meetings and conferences etc. They remain safe as houses while approving brutal performance management of more junior staff out of their jobs.

I have followed the careers of several bullies and not one of them has taken a backward step. Research managers who have no qualifications at all and therefore no background in research. Very young Deputy Chief Executives harassing staff. Bullying and grossly-overpaid Human Resources staff assisting bullying managers. The list goes on and on . . .


David Lillis

Anna Mouse said...

IMO the entire RNZ speech at Dunlops exit party says it all. With only knowing the snippets one can tell they were being spoken like those of somone who is a bully.