- There’s been extensive coverage of supposed bullying allegations against Justice Minister Kiri Allan.
- Spotlight also has been on Allan taking a week’s stress leave.
- There’s been no formal complaints made, so why not cut her some slack?
- Wasn’t Labour speaker Trevor Mallard a lot worse on the bullying? But now he is a diplomat.
Media coverage over supposed accusations of bullying
There has been a lot of media coverage on whether or not Justice Minister Kiritapu Allan bullied a Department of Conservation (DOC) staffer on a secondment, over a year ago. According to this coverage, Allan “screamed and yelled” at this staffer, who was so distraught the secondment ended early.
These accusations were brought forward by DOC director-general Penny Nelson. Nelson said it was apparently so bad she discussed the incident at the time with Internal Affairs.
No formal complaints actually made
No formal complaint has been made against Minister Allan. And in Nelson’s statement she said:
“No further concerns were subsequently brought to my attention, and I understand relationships improved.”
It’s hard to understand then, why all the media coverage?
If you work for a Minister and don’t like their management style you can leave
Allan has said their offices are high-stress environments, with a lot of pressure and big expectations. Using rugby analogies like “we run hard while we’ve got the ball”.
The public can judge her work as a Minister. How nice it is to work for her, short of something both actionable and acted on, seems subjective and, dare we say, too petty for the media focus.
Media interest in Kiri Allan
Allan has been off work most of this week due to stress and mental health. She has apparently broken up with her fiancé, Māni Dunlop.
In May, she was questioned about contributions made to her campaign by former Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon and remarks she made towards RNZ staff, critical of their treatment of Māori reporters. The latter was in relation to RNZ’s decision to overlook Allan’s then-fiancé Dunlop, for a top presenter spot with the broadcaster. Allan later apologised. These are legitimate matters of public interest.
Trevor Mallard called a bully a fair few times. Rewarded with a diplomatic posting
The bullying rumour floating around Allan seems far less grunty than those involving one Labour party member and former speaker named Trevor Mallard.
Mallard cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle with a parliamentary staffer who he accused of being a rapist. Ironically, the comments emerged from the Frances Review, tasked with investigating bullying and harassment within Parliament.
Mallard copped to knowing his rape allegations were wrong soon after making them, but dragged out the settlement process nonetheless.
The payout didn’t stop Mallard from invoking parliamentary privilege soon after that and insisting the man he’d wrongly accused of being a rapist, was in fact, guilty of sexual assault.
Mallard was made Ambassador Designate to Ireland in 2023. ACT’s David Seymour calls his appointment to the post of Ambassador an “outrage”, an “insult to our friends in Ireland,”and an example of bad behaviour being rewarded.
Former National leader Judith Collins said Mallard was the biggest bully she’d seen in Parliament, and didn’t have the right temperament for it.
Mallard received international attention in 2022 for his over-the-top treatment of anti-mandate protesters in Wellington.
When he departed for Ireland, Newstalk ZB’s John Macdonald said New Zealand is a better place without Mallard in it.
Kiri Allan deserves a little “me time”.