Another Minister in trouble – Meka Whaitiri standing aside

Meka Whaitiri, Labour MP and Minister outside cabinet, has ‘offered to stand aside’ while an investigation is carried out – it has been reported to be what Newshub described as  involving ‘some shoving’.

Newshub: ‘Physical incident’ the reason Customs Minister stood aside 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted Minister Meka Whaitiri’s offer to stand aside from her portfolios, while an investigation is carried out into a staffing matter in her office.

Newshub understands the probe follows allegations of a physical incident with another staff member in her office, which involved some shoving.

It appears to be not an isolated incident in that there are claims that Whaitiri has had an unusually high staff turnover.

Stuff: PM stands Minister Meka Whaitiri aside over staffing issue

Stuff has been told relations in Whaitiri’s office are toxic and she is understood to have been through an entire rotation of staff in the short time she has been in the job.

People who are close to the situation told Stuff on Thursday Whaitiri can be unpleasant and difficult to deal with, but it’s understood Ardern’s actions relate to a specific incident involving a single staff member.

There have been a growing number of questions asked about the number of her staff going through her office.

Doesn’t sound flash.

Today: Prime Minister stands Minister aside

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today accepted Meka Whaitiri’s offer to stand aside from her portfolios while an investigation is carried out into a staffing matter in her ministerial office.

Jacinda Ardern was advised of the staffing matter last night.

While the matter is being investigated Kris Faafoi will be the Acting Minister of Customs.  Meka Whaitiri’s Associate Minister responsibilities will revert to the lead portfolio Ministers.

“Meka Whaitiri has told me she will be fully cooperating with the investigation, which will be thorough and conducted as quickly as possible,” said Jacinda Ardern.

Because of privacy concerns Jacinda Ardern and Meka Whaitiri will not comment further on this matter while Ministerial Services is carrying out the investigation.

Last Friday Clare Curran resigned or was dumped from Cabinet and lost some of her ministerial responsibilities, but controversially retained the Broadcasting portfolio.

74 Comments

  1. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  August 30, 2018

    Don’t think Jacinda will be looking forward to Question Time next week.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  August 30, 2018

      Oh, why ? 😀

      I somehow suspect that she won’t…

      She wasn’t careful enough about what she wished for.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  August 30, 2018

        Oh dear, there are the two ministers and the camp…three disasters in one week. No wonder she looks drawn and haggard and doesn’t seem to have had time to wash and brush her hair…or change out of her pyjamas or dressing gown or whatever that satin garment was.

    • Traveller

       /  August 31, 2018

      She only stays for one or maximum two.

      There’s far too many schools to limo around between breastfeeding.

  2. robertguyton

     /  August 30, 2018

    Didn’t Gerry..shove?
    Naturally, he…stood aside…yes?

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  August 30, 2018

      No, as far as I know, he never shoved a staff member around in her office…

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  August 30, 2018

        his office. He doesn’t go in for physically abusing his staff.

      • robertguyton

         /  August 30, 2018

        But members of the public…down stairs… I think so.. and the record will attest…

        • robertguyton

           /  August 31, 2018


          The judge accepted Mr Brownlee’s denial that he threatened to throw Mr Abel down the stairs but said he was sure something was said that caused Mr Abel to believe that.

          He said Mr Brownlee used excessive and unnecessary force on Mr Abel when he tried to remove him from a staircase handrail.

          Mr Brownlee was up to twice Mr Abel’s weight and was younger and fitter. Mr Abel was one week short of his 60th birthday at the time.”

          • I’m not sure what point you are trying to make.

            Should past crappy behaviour by MPs excuse current MPs from what could amount to assault?

            • Gezza

               /  August 31, 2018

              Just a little whataboutery.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 31, 2018

              There should be no shoving and other high-profile MPs have shoved before and created unpleasant office environments.

            • So can you say that this doesn’t look good for Whaitiri?

            • robertguyton

               /  August 31, 2018

              “So can you say that this doesn’t look good for Whaitiri?”
              Of course I can! I’m not defending her. I can’t anyway, as I don’t know enough about her situation to condemn or otherwise. I was, however, immediately reminded of past behaviours by other MPs (Brownlee and Parata) which seem similar in nature and wondered if they were stood down while investigations were held: was Parata? Was Brownlee? You might know, Pete. This is not an attempt to divert, rather expand on the issue of rough behaviour by MPs.

  3. robertguyton

     /  August 30, 2018

    “Stuff has been told relations in Whaitiri’s Hekeia Parata’s office are toxic and she is understood to have been through an entire rotation of staff in the short time she has been in the job.”

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  August 30, 2018

      Is that intended to be funny ? It isn’t. it’s not funny and not true.

      • robertguyton

         /  August 30, 2018

        Give. Me. A. Break.
        This was Parata when she was a minister: rough on all involved: did you throw your hands up in horror then? Links please.

    • That’s a very lame attempt at diversion. Parata is not a Minister, nor is she an MP.

      Do you think a dysfunctional Government is acceptable?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  August 30, 2018

        I don’t. The news about the businesses was bad enough without all this as well.Labour is making one stuff-up after another.

      • robertguyton

         /  August 30, 2018

        Pete: I never found the disfunctional national Government “acceptable” – did you?

      • robertguyton

         /  August 31, 2018

        “But Ms Parata’s relationship with Ms Longstone is not the only one under scrutiny.

        Ms Parata has lost several private secretaries and a senior adviser just two months into a two-year secondment.

        She also let go her senior private secretary just before Christmas.

        Ministerial Services confirmed there had been no other employee disputes or employee exit arrangements from the office.

        Ms Turei said she had lodged an Official Information Act request over potential staff exit arrangements in the office because of a worrying number of reports about internal office tensions.

        She was concerned at the cost of the minister’s mounting tally of relationship problems.

        “There have been lots of reports of conflict and problems and a very high turnover. This personal grievance just goes to show how serious it has been beyond even the Lesley Longstone debacle.”

        Ms Parata’s office referred inquiries to Ministerial Services.

        Ministerial Services said it had no further comment.”

    • Corky

       /  August 30, 2018

      Fear not, Robert. 2020 will relieve you of your agony. I bet Maori aren’t top of the hit list with this coalition government..especially the Greens.

    • artcroft

       /  August 31, 2018

      Stooping to smearing your opponents Robert? My how desperate the Left has become, rolling out the dirty politics play book (which they wrote) to cover up their incompetence at governing.

  4. Alison Mau five days ago:

    Meka Whaitiri, currently Minister of Customs, Associate Minister of Agriculture, Associate Minister of Crown/Māori Relations and Associate Minister of Local Government, has a growing reputation as a good operator; smart, talented, worthy of more responsibility.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/106564261/Please-Prime-Minister-don-t-let-a-great-opportunity-pass-you-by

    • Gezza

       /  August 30, 2018

      Yes I posted about that in Open Forum earlier this evening. I’m hoping to see another article on it by Ali, updating us on her thoughts now.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 30, 2018

        When push comes to shove you can’t beat a red-blooded wahine. I’m sure Mau would agree.

    • Corky

       /  August 30, 2018

      To be fair to Meka, Pete, we don’t know whether she had snowflakes working in her office.
      Productive Maori Women like Meka can be VERY forceful. If I could find out the race of the complainant I could almost give you a general idea of what allegedly may have gone down and why. Basically, if the complainant was a European its a problem with emotion and things feminine. If the complainant is Maori it is a clash of wills and things Maori. If it’s a man it involves disrespect and scheming.

      • Gezza

         /  August 30, 2018

        Haven’t I told you before not to extrapolate out what your family is like to apply it to normal society.

        • Corky

           /  August 30, 2018

          And haven’t I told you before to leave this stuff to me. My suggest is lean back and relax..I may be wrong. Then you can have some fun.

          • Gezza

             /  August 30, 2018

            We can’t just sit back and leave this sort of stuff to you Corks. You could cause a riot at a Sunday School class.

    • artcroft

       /  August 30, 2018

      Demonstrates the value for Mau’s opinion. Worthless nonsense.

      • Corky

         /  August 30, 2018

        What you are saying is Mau’s fancy Colt is an engraved show piece shooting blanks.

        • Gezza

           /  August 30, 2018

          Sounds more like her round exploded in her chamber.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  August 31, 2018

      At least she admits mistakes:

      • Gezza

         /  August 31, 2018

        Good on her. The replies to this tweet are worth a look too.

  5. Tipene

     /  August 30, 2018

    Ali Mau is as “punchy” in her thinking as the latest Whaitiri victim is about now…..bit free with their hands, these Maori broads, aren’t they?

  6. Gezza

     /  August 30, 2018

    Her wikipedia page has been updated already:

    On 30 August 2018, Whaitiri stepped down from her ministerial portfolios as part of an investigation into an allegation that she assaulted a staff member in her ministerial office. Fellow Labour MP Kris Faafoi assumed the role of Acting Minister of Customs while her associate ministerial portfolios will be assumed by their lead ministers.[21][22][23]
    (Links are to 1ewes, Newshub & RNZ articles)

    • Maggy Wassilieff

       /  August 31, 2018

      What is the difference between “manhandling” and assault?

      • Labour should be able to work that out after their experience from failing to involve the police in alleged sexual assaults. They should be right on the ball here.

        However at this stage “the police won’t say whether they have received a complaint”.

        • Gezza

           /  August 31, 2018

          Wait’ll the radfem’s hear she “manhandled” someone. 😮

          Shouldn’t that be femhandled or personhandled? o_O

      • Corky

         /  August 31, 2018

        Manhandling isn’t striking I’m guessing.

  7. PDB

     /  August 31, 2018

    ZB: “Former Labour Party President Mike Williams told Mike Hosking if it’s proven that an assault took place, then it’s a sackable offence”. “He says one of the issues is the lack of training for ministers”

    This govt the first to all need copies of ‘Being a minister for Dummies’.

    • Blazer

       /  August 31, 2018

      Barger Brownlee never got sacked for throwing his weight around!

      • High Flying Duck

         /  August 31, 2018

        How many staff did he assault?

        • Blazer

           /  August 31, 2018

          wasn’t counting, but Airport security staff are actually human beings…too.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  August 31, 2018

            I don’t think the airport guy was touched.

            • Blazer

               /  August 31, 2018

              what you think is not salient.
              Even in Rugby and League barging with no attempt to execute a conventional tackle is an ..offence.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 31, 2018

              “I don’t think the airport guy was touched.”
              This guy was…
              “The judge accepted Mr Brownlee’s denial that he threatened to throw Mr Abel down the stairs but said he was sure something was said that caused Mr Abel to believe that.

              He said Mr Brownlee used excessive and unnecessary force on Mr Abel when he tried to remove him from a staircase handrail.

              Mr Brownlee was up to twice Mr Abel’s weight and was younger and fitter. Mr Abel was one week short of his 60th birthday at the time.””

      • Corky

         /  August 31, 2018

        ”Barger Brownlee never got sacked for throwing his weight around!”

        He was a Tory..not a ham-fisted socialist. He carried his indiscretion with panache…Blazer.

        • Corky

           /  August 31, 2018

          Er, sorry big fella. You aren’t dead yet. * Is*

  8. Jay3

     /  August 31, 2018

    Ardern’s strategy of picking ministers based on identity politics rather than competence appears to be lying in tatters. Curran, Whaitiri, Davis. Who will get shown up next?

  9. robertguyton

     /  August 31, 2018

    “Firstly, when the allegation was made, Meka Whaitiri went immediately to the PM, explained the situation and offered to stand down. That offer was accepted and the matter was made public.

    The significance of this sequence is that the Ardern led Government has higher standards than the Key led Government. Key dealt with a series of scandals behind closed doors, starting with hiding the details of inappropriate sexual behaviour made against Richard Worth in 2009.

    Key flubbed that early test of his morality and transparency. Ardern has not made the same mistake, accepting Whaitiri’s stand down offer, and leaving the investigation into the alleged incident to the appropriate authorities.”

    • Blazer

       /  August 31, 2018

      TRP/TS…..’Compare that with National’s approach to issues around Phil Heatley, Aaron Gilmore, Nick Smith and Pansy Wong. In those cases, John Key initially minimised the offences, effectively allowed the guilty parties to determine their own fates and made it clear there was a swift way back to Ministerial status for Nick Smith.’

      • robertguyton

         /  August 31, 2018

        zakly

      • High Flying Duck

         /  August 31, 2018

        Hmmm – Heatley lost all portfolios (not just a token 2) and was reinstated when cleared of any wrongdoing, Aaron Gilmore was sent packing, Pansy Wong was sent packing…Nick Smith should have been but is unfortunately still stinking up the place.

        Compares well with the limp wristed responses so far by Labour.

    • Ray

       /  August 31, 2018

      Just yesterday I was going to commend you Robert, on how well you had overcome your John Key Syndrome but I see you still have some more work to get on top of it.
      Hint: Transfering it to a bridges mania probably is not really a good strategy.

      • robertguyton

         /  August 31, 2018

        John who? Bridges needs to employ his hypocrisy gland less frequently to avoid being commented upon by me.

  10. robertguyton

     /  August 31, 2018

    Bridges is demanding disclosure; he deserves to know! Probably preparing to release the Todd Barclay details as we speak…

  11. David

     /  August 31, 2018

    Ardern needed to ask one question “did you put your hands on the staff member while berating them” if yes then why stuff around with an investigation she should just fire her from her ministry unless Ardern thinks there is some nuance to physical bullying in the beehive that needs exploring.

    • Corky

       /  August 31, 2018

      ”Unless Ardern thinks there is some nuance to physical bullying in the beehive that needs exploring.”

      That ”nuance” is ”Maori” and the fallout should she sack Whaitiri. She know what Maori will say: ” Huh, a Pakeha minister get slapped with a wet bus ticket…a Maori minister gets the sack. Some may say the two cases are different. They aren’t in my opinion. In fact, a case could be made for Curran being the bigger offender.

  12. David

     /  August 31, 2018

    Enough of the “what aboutism” with big Gerry who got a bit shovy with a voter not someone who,s livelihood depended on him. It was an irate lefty getting in his grill and rightly deserved a flogging.

  13. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  August 31, 2018

    Just so everyone is clear what assault means in NZ, as defined in the Crimes Act 1961:

    assault means the act of intentionally applying or attempting to apply force to the person of another, directly or indirectly, or threatening by any act or gesture to apply such force to the person of another, if the person making the threat has, or causes the other to believe on reasonable grounds that he or she has, present ability to effect his or her purpose; and to assault has a corresponding meaning

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/137.0/DLM327394.html

    No need to use euphemisms like manhandling/ physical bullying…

    • robertguyton

       /  August 31, 2018

      Pony-tail pulling…

      • Corky

         /  August 31, 2018

        That’s a fetish…a minor one compared with Labour Party shenanigans.

        As to Maggy’s post. It’s a wonder we all haven’t be charged with assault given the definition.
        That definition also shows how problematic our self defence laws must be when applied.

        • Maggy Wassilieff

           /  August 31, 2018

          t’s a wonder we all haven’t be charged with assault

          It’s not a difficult thing to learn.
          Keep your hands to yourself.
          Don’t grope the merchandise.
          Don’t push the workers around.

          • Blazer

             /  August 31, 2018

            ‘don’t grope the merchandise’….saggy?

          • Gezza

             /  August 31, 2018

            Perverts Maggy.

          • Corky

             /  August 31, 2018

            Read the definition of assault you posted, Maggy. You make it sound so clear cut.

  14. Gezza

     /  August 31, 2018

    1ewes at six did another subtle hit job on Meka in their first segment tonite, mentioning that when she worked as Senior Private Secretary to Parakura Horomia there were reports of her bullying behaviour, prompting Helen Clark to step in to put a stop to it.