Thursday, September 27, 2018

Meka Whaitiri's workplace bullying

The inquiry report into former Minister Meka Whaitiri's bullying of a staff member has been leaked. And its not good:

The incident involving former Government minister Meka Whaitiri and a staff member allegedly left bruising to the upper right arm of the staffer and photos of bruises were produced to the inquiry, a draft report leaked to the Herald shows.

The incident occurred because Whaitiri was unhappy at not having been alerted to a photo opportunity at a media standup with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a lunch break at a function in Gisborne.

Other ministers were standing behind Ardern but Whaitiri wasn't because no one had told her it was happening.

And remember, this is the incident that was complained about. Allegedly she had a long history of bullying before that, but no-one had dared come forward...

This isn't acceptable behaviour in any workplace, and its good that Whaitiri has been sacked as a Minister. At the same time, someone who does this - and the inquiry found that on the balance of probabilities, she did - simply isn't fit to be an MP. While the Prime Minister can't sack her from that position, Ardern can suggest that she resign, and begin proceedings to throw her out of the Labour Party if she doesn't.

The biggest barrier to that is likely to be Labour's Māori caucus, who yesterday were backing Whaitiri despite not having seen the report, supposedly out of a sense of solidarity. Which speaks volumes about their personal values. Its the same approach we're seeing in the Kavanaugh hearings in the US, of party hacks backing their fellow hack, regardless of the evidence or moral questions involved, because to them its about teams and winning, not right and wrong. And that's not acceptable either. Workplace bullying and assault are wrong, regardless of who does it or what "team" they're on. And you'd expect representatives of a supposed worker's party to understand that.