The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has this week released an issues paper on bullying and harassment (including sexual harassment) at work in New Zealand.

Through an MBIE Review Project Team the Government is consulting widely and has released a survey to better understand how to effect change to reduce bullying and harassment (including sexual harassment) in workplaces and whether businesses and organisations are meeting their obligations.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment is currently looking into how we prevent and respond to bullying and harassment at work in New Zealand. To help us with this, we want to hear from people about:

  • The types of policies and systems you’ve seen used to prevent and respond to bullying or harassment at work
  • How well these policies and systems actually work, and how they can be improved
  • What types of tools and support from the Government may help further. 
Your feedback in this survey will help us to develop future policies and guidance in this area.”

This is a topical subject currently with the NZPFU recently likened FENZ’s behaviour in the implementation of its restructure as organisational bullying. There has also been the highly publicised allegations by women volunteer firefighters claiming FENZ and/or its predecessor failed to investigate their allegations of sexual assault, harassment, bullying and victimisation by other volunteers.

FENZ is claiming it now has processes in place to deal with bullying and harassment.   We say the fire service should always have had robust, transparent and fair processes to deal with such complaints and serious allegations. We have no faith in FENZ’s current processes, particularly as the new Behaviour and Conduct Office has failed to address behaviour of one of its staffer’s who posted derogatory and incorrect statements about FENZ’s employees online.  

The NZPFU will be providing a written submission to MBIE detailing our member’s experiences and calling for consistent fair, independent, transparent and clear processes to deal with complaints in a timely manner regardless of the rank/position of the complainant and/or the person accused.

We invite our members to also participate through the online anonymous survey. MBIE wants to hear from anyone who has a view on how to prevent and respond to bullying and harassment at work, whether or not you have had a personal experience of bullying or harassment.

The MBIE Issues Paper and information can be accessed via https://www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/bullying-and-harassment-at-work/.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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