Haumaha belittled his staff

ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

It is amazing how much news is coming out in the few days before Christmas. Honestly, if I didn’t know better with our ‘open and transparent government’, I would think they are deliberately holding everything back as long as they can so that people will lose interest in the last minute Christmas rush. But we know, of course, that they would never do that. This is the government with a charismatic leader that told us how it is perfectly possible to have a career in politics without having to resort to lying.

What a pity she didn’t try a bit harder to make that true of her own career.

Stuff reports: quote.

Police deputy commissioner Wally Haumaha has intimidated and humiliated two women staffers, according to the police watchdog.

A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has found two instances where the high-ranking cop aggressively asserted authority and belittled staff from Ministry of Justice and Corrections during a high-pressure project in 2016.

After the bullying allegations emerged in August, Haumaha took legal advice and improperly asked fellow officers and others to support him, and circulated information about a complainant in an attempt to discredit her. end quote.

So even after his appointment was in question, he carried on with his bullying ways and he now wonders why his appointment was under scrutiny. quote.

National Party leader Simon Bridges is now calling for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to dismiss Haumaha.

“It was Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who appointed Wally Haumaha. She now has to take responsibility and dismiss the man that she appointed to one of the most senior and powerful roles in the country,” Bridges said in a statement.

“It would be unconscionable for Mr Haumaha to stay in this constitutionally important role given the seriousness of the IPCA findings.” end quote.

Yep, and let’s face it, people who work for the police are not exactly snowflakes. If there are bullying claims against him, chances are they are serious. quote.

Two women, Ministry of Justice and Corrections staffers, laid formal bullying complaints over Haumaha’s actions during the joint project aimed at improving the outcomes of Māori in 2016.

The project demanded long hours and was fraught with tension. Doherty noted there was a clash between police’s unquestioning hierarchical structure and the “question the questions” perspective held by staffers from the other departments. end quote.

Forgive me (wipes eyes). The project on which he bullied people was one designed to improve outcomes for Maori… quote.

The relationship between one complainant and Haumaha clearly deteriorated. Both gave differing accounts of arguments to the IPCA and at the time complained of each other to a Corrections manager.

In a meeting almost a month later, he belittled and humiliated the other complainant who told the investigation: “He basically berated me quite publicly … I was a little bit scared physically”.

He pressured each team member to provide their personal commitment to the project, which was reasonably interpreted as demanding commitment to his leadership, the IPCA found.

“Nor did he recognise, even by the time of his interview with the [IPCA], the inappropriateness of belittling a junior staff member in the meeting.”

The IPCA received a third complaint in August, and found Haumaha pressured officers to provide information that would help him defend allegations after taking advice from lawyers.

A Corrections manager also sent Haumaha a document critical of one of the complainants, which included confidential details about her performance and employment status.

“Haumaha should not have circulated personal information about a non-Police member of the project team, which he did to discredit them.” end quote.

I am generally a supporter of our police force. I understand that theirs is a difficult and often thankless job and that they often find themselves in situations that can only be described as ‘no-win’. I do however think it is reasonable to expect the Deputy Commissioner of Police to know that bullying staff and releasing confidential private information to undermine a staff member is unacceptable behaviour from someone in that role. If he does not understand that it is unacceptable to intimidate people into dropping allegations of bullying against him what can we say?

UPDATE: Haumaha is to keep his job. Newsroom reports: quote.

Inappropriate behaviour of top cop Wally Haumaha towards women does not meet the legal threshold needed for his dismissal, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Ardern’s decision not to sack the top cop was unexpected, following her comments about the #MeToo movement, and the examples of intimidation and humiliation laid out in the report. end quote.

So much for #metoo. It seems it is okay if the brown fullas do it.

 


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