support the findings and recommendations of Debbie Francis’ independent review
into Bullying and Harassment in the New Zealand Parliamentary Workplace. We
want to thank staff for taking the difficult and brave step of making their
voices heard in this review.
highlights the unique and high-pressure environment of this workplace where an
unusual employment relationship exists that has the effect of leaving staff
several proposed actions outlined in the report that we believe, if taken
urgently, can make a meaningful difference to address the systemic bullying and
harassment in the parliamentary workplace. These are:
an Independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Conduct
needs to be an independent whistle-blowing mechanism for bullying and
harassment in the workplace that puts accountability above political interests.
a Sanctions Working Group
support training for Members of Parliament (MPs) to become good managers but we
also want to ensure there are protections for staff entering offices where
there is a high-turnover of staff.
want to see additional training and mentoring for offices where this occurs
before further permanent staff are hired.
should be responsible for temporary staff and their wellbeing in these offices.
inappropriate behaviour persists, the public should be made aware of a member’s
behaviour in extreme circumstances.
a single employer for each job role
Review’s recommendations go into significant detail outlining a new HR system
but we feel that until there is absolute clarity on who is the employer for
each of the roles at parliament there will be no accountability.
current events-based contracts for Member support and political staff with new
fixed term employment agreements for the duration of a parliamentary term
some of the recommendations ignore the reality of political parties who need to
function in the parliamentary workplace.
Review also mentions remuneration reviews for staff who work long hours in an
extraordinary environment. It is important to note that some political parties
have the means to provide additional benefits to staff and others do not.
It is our view
that it is critical that an independent authority oversees remuneration for
staff instead of political parties, who are incentivised to keep staff wages
low compared with the rest of the public service due to the media scrutiny that
any increases via agencies would attract.
This is the
collective lived experience of staff who believe that these are the changes
that need to be a priority for the next steps in the response to the Review.
info or comment: Paul Tolich 027 593 5595