Rankin, Ardern, Peters respond to Parliament’s bullying and harassment review

The behaviour of MP versus MP is not included in the Review into bullying and harassment at Parliament, it is dealing with staff only, but it has raised the issue of poor behaviour from MPs.

The Speaker Trevor Mallard’s past behaviour in Parliament has been pointed out, including a conviction for fighting with another MP and attacks on a consultant. In 2007 Mallard pleads guilty to fighting, says sorry to consultant

Mallard pleaded not guilty to an assault charge, but today pleaded guilty to the lesser fighting charge and agreed to pay $500 to the Salvation Army’s Bridge drug and alcohol programme.

Shortly after the conclusion of the hearing, Mallard apologised in Parliament to Ms Leigh, who he had been accused of unfairly attacking under parliamentary privilege.

And yesterday, in response to Mallard launching the review – ‘He was a bully’: Christine Rankin accuses ‘crude’ Trevor Mallard of bullying

Former Work and Income NZ chief executive Christine Rankin says she was subjected to a campaign of bullying from senior ministers who wanted her out – and that Speaker Trevor Mallard was among them.

“I think anyone can look back on my situation 18 years ago and accept that it was the biggest bullying situation that has ever happened in this country that we know of,” she told Newshub.

She says she was taunted and comments were made about the way she looked. She claims she was even told that her earrings were a “sexual come-on”.

“Incidents have occurred over many years in these buildings which are unacceptable,” said Mr Mallard when announcing the inquiry earlier this week.

Ms Rankin says she was relentlessly bullied by senior Labour Party ministers after they took power in 1999, and that group included now-Speaker Mr Mallard.

“He was a bully,” she told Newshub. “They were all bullies and they revelled in it.”

She says ministers would whisper and laugh about her during meetings – with Mr Mallard using language that still makes her too uncomfortable to repeat.

“He was crude and rude and it was directed at me.”

Mallard has probably changed a lot since then, especially since he took on the responsibility of Speaker. His past behaviour shouldn’t stop him from addressing that sort of behaviour now. Tolerance of harassment has significantly diminished.

Parliament should set an example (a good example) to the population, and the review is a good to do this.

Hopefully MPs will learn something from it. Robust debate is an essential part of a healthy democracy, but in the past MP behaviour has gone far further than that with attacks on opponents capable of being seen as bullying and harassment.

Quite contrasting reactions from Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters.

NZ Herald: Winston Peters has ‘no idea’ why bullying review into Parliament is taking place

Most MPs welcomed the review, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who said Parliament was not immune to such issues.

“It is high pressure. There’s long hours. There’s no excuse, though, for that to result in poor behaviour, so it’s worthwhile to undertake this exercise,” Ardern said.

But someone’s nose seems to be out of joint – or perhaps there are feelings of guilt.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has poured cold water on Parliament’s review of workplace bullying and harassment, saying he has “no idea” why it is taking place.

Peters said he had not been consulted, adding that being told in advance did not amount to consultation.

“I’ve got no idea why this is being requested by the Speaker at all. I have not been consulted on that matter, so I’m not prepared to make any comment at all.”

Asked if he supported the review, Peters said: “We’ll find out when the review happens.”

He joked that the media had subjected him to bullying.

“I’m going to tell the interviewer that the only person being seriously bullied around this place for a long time is one Winston Peters – by people like you.”

Given Peters’ use of the media to attack people that’s ironic.

And given Peters’ manner towards journalists trying to interview him the question of bullying could easily be put to him – but Peters has long used attack as a form of defence.

At least Mallard has recognised moves to address and reduce poor MP behaviour, seemingly having learned from his own mistakes and unsatisfactory behaviour in the past.

If anything Peters is getting worse now he is in one of the most powerful positions he has attained in Parliament. A sense that his longevity in Parliament gives him some sort of right to act as he pleases highlights how out of step his combative and cantankerous approach is in the modern world of politics and in society in general).

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  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  29th November 2018

    Christine Rankin’s earrings a come-on? In her own mind, perhaps.

    They may have been laughing because she didn’t wear a bra and had everything (such as it was) on show and about to fall out. .

    This is the woman who made people’s lives a misery at WINZ, who dropped someone in it so that they lost their job and did many other things I forget now. She tried to make all the women dress like her.The staff seem to have unanimously disliked her for good reason. She is the bully here.

    • Mallard was among the bullies of this woman and part of the prevailing bullying culture of the time.
      His treatment of Madeline Setchell was unprecedented and in this he was aided and abetted by Clare Curran


      • Kitty Catkin

         /  29th November 2018

        The staff at WINZ put in complaints about Miss Rankin and her overbearing ways.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  29th November 2018

        Christine Rankin is a well-known attention-seeker.

        • robertguyton

           /  29th November 2018

          Successful then.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  29th November 2018

            Silly moo. It’s sad when someone can’t accept that their 15 minutes is up. It was very interesting hearing what it was like in WINZ when she was in charge, like her emerging to music through dry ice and expecting applause.

            It was very mean indeed to ‘persuade’ someone to sign off the controversial extravagant retreat, which meant that the signer was dropped right in it and lost her job over it. My friend knew how much she got when she successfully went for unjustified dismissal and won; it was a very large sum indeed.

            She was convinced that she would take the Conservative Party into Parliament with a large majority. Yeah, right.

            Her latest husband was married to CR’s estate agent when they met and began an affair. His then wife killed herself, and the two were married three months later. This was not well received by his family.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  29th November 2018

            Successful at attention-seeking, yes. Not at being a loyal and decent person.

            • Gezza

               /  29th November 2018

              I thought so when she went on Dancing With The Stars. A lot of attention-seekers seem to go on that show.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  29th November 2018

              She claimed to be delighted to be voted off on the first episode…yeah, right. She looked as if she was – I DON’T think.

              Not all the ‘stars’ are attention seekers, but I only watch it when someone I know is on it as I find it a bit of a bore.

            • Gezza

               /  30th November 2018

              Not all the ‘stars’ are attention seekers

              Excuse me? You don’t go on a television show broadcast weekly to a breathless nation and analysed to death in the online newspapers and lifestyle magazines until the whole national embarrassment is over for another year if you want to hide your light under a bushel.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  1st December 2018

              No, but they are invited to go on, they don’t ask. I agree that some probably leap at it, but I know that some don’t.

        • Whatever, she was definitely bullied and slut-shamed

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  29th November 2018

            Poor baby. I don’t remember her being either, except in her own imagination.

            Slut-shamed ??? Hardly.

            I know that when she offered clothes to the dress for success movement they were politely declined, as they didn’t have anyone going to work where such things would be suitable.

            If someone wears a low-cut jacket and no bra and sits on desks, leaning forward, they must expect this to be noticed…why else would they do it?

            The staff didn’t have the good opinion of her that she had of herself.

  2. Gezza

     /  29th November 2018

    I’m prepared to bet this review is going to find bullying in Parliament is rampant. How rampant will depend on how it is defined and how sanitised the language is.

  3. Tipene

     /  30th November 2018

    Mallard has been, is,and will continue to be a weapons-grade bullying wanker, and all Rankin is doing is affirming this (as if any more affirmation is needed).

    FWIW, I think Rankin stood pretty bloody strongly against what she had to endure.

  1. Rankin, Ardern, Peters respond to Parliament’s bullying and harassment review — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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