For a party steeped in union dogma Labour sure does seem to have a problem with how to treat their staff. The latest to face bullying accusations is Kiri Allan. And the word is that this is just the tip of the iceberg, too.

A staffer seconded to work with Cabinet Minister Kiritapu Allan chose to leave early because of concerns about “working relationships” in the office.

Problems in the Beehive office saw Department of Conservation chief executive Penny Nelson take her concerns to the Department of Internal Affairs, which manages Ministerial Services.

Stuff understands that other senior public servants – including from Emergency Management, and the Ministry of Business, innovation and Employment – have also voiced concerns about how staff were treated.

It comes as Allan is on leave from Parliament, because she is “struggling with mental health and wellbeing”.

“I became aware that concerns had been raised about the working relationships with the Minister in the office, and that it was not running as smoothly as it might,” Nelson said in a statement.

“One person chose to end their secondment early due to the working relationships in the office. Accordingly, I had discussions with my colleagues, including from Internal Affairs which manages Ministerial Services, regarding support in the office.

“No further concerns were subsequently brought to my attention, and I understand relationships improved.”

DoC said the discussions happened last year.

Allan has been asked for comment.


Kiri Allan, who likes to dish out the smackdowns, appears to have run for cover claiming mental health issues. That’s weak and pathetic. She’s taken cover because she knew this story was about to drop. Even I knew it was coming a few days ago.

The Labour Party, the workers’ party, really does have an issue with how to be decent bosses.

But she has long had a reputation as a demanding boss. A public service source with knowledge of the problems said “low trust and respect of public servants was [the] issue” and had been discussed among senior staff.

Bullying allegations have dogged the Labour Government. Meka Whaitiri was stripped of her ministerial responsibilities after an altercation with her press secretary in 2018. A report found it “probable” that she grabbed and left bruising on her press secretary.

Rebel MP Gaurav Sharma levelled explosive allegations of bullying last year, but failed to provide any evidence and was expelled.

In the wake of that drama, two former staffers accused Tukituki MP Anna Lorck of bullying. She later received “leadership training”.


Not a good look for the party of the unions and the workers.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news,...