The NZ Parliament is staffed by employees of Parliamentary Services, Office of the Clerk of Representatives and the Department of internal Affairs.
The employment environment is a unique and high pressure one. Many of the employees are engaged on "events based" contracts such that they are beholden to a particular elected member or minister for the duration of the Parliamentary term.
Such contracts also typically allow for termination of employment on the basis of an "irreconcilable breakdown" between the employee and the politician.
These factors have contributed to an environment of alleged bullying.
In late 2018, amidst claims of bullying, the Speaker of the House of Representatives commissioned an independent report to look into whether bullying was occurring, the causes of this and what actions could be taken to prevent it.
Dundas Street was engaged by Parliamentary Services and the Office of the Clerk to review and provide advice to those agencies on the draft report, and the implementation of its recommendations.
The advice we provided provided involved ensuring that the process was legally robust, and that the recommendations would be practical and enforceable within the Parliamentary environment.