Workplace Safety expert reiterates Dr Gaurav Sharma’s call for an independent investigation

 

 

Allan Halse
Hamilton, September 21, 2022

Standfirst: Two recent that appeared in Indian Newslink (September 1 and September 15, 2022) evoked public discussion on Facebook. Some felt that the reports were balanced but a growing number of Dr Sharma’s supporters believe that they were biased. Our request for an interview was met with an angry decline from his office. Meanwhile, Allan Halse, a Hamilton-based expert who had arranged an online (Facebook) discussion with Dr Sharma sent us the following article, saying that we had not done justice by seeking the opinions of the now Independent MP. Mr Halse has been a champion for victims of workplace bullying and has represented more than 500 clients.

Last Sunday’s (September 18, 2022) CultureSafe Facebook live event involving Dr Gaurang Sharma, Bernadette Soares and Anendra Singh (author of ‘Workplace Bullying – The Beat Up’) and me, was a revelation and I found Dr Sharma to be extremely moderate but open and honest.

I believe that he has acted honourably and in accordance with the complaints process whilst a Member of the Labour Party Caucus. He has been willing to provide evidence, whenever I have asked him to do so.

(Informatics supplied by Allan Halse)

Dr Sharma’s entitlements

I believe that Dr Sharma was entitled to have had an independent and impartial investigation into his bullying complaints against the Labour Party Whips and other Caucus members (they should have the right to defend themselves), but I also believe that those staff members who belatedly (the timeline is very clear about when complaints where filed) raised complaints against Dr Sharma should also have the right to an independent and impartial investigation into their complaints, as should Dr Sharma have the right to defend himself.

Instead, the Prime Minister and several Cabinet Ministers openly claimed Dr Sharma was a bully without giving him a right to reply. He was forced to publicly release documentation and audio recordings in his own defence.

Evidence is provided to an independent and impartial investigator under a proper process, and no bullied person should ever be expected to provide all their evidence before an investigation has commenced.

The main problem is that New Zealand does not have an official,  independent and impartial investigation process and employers (in Dr Sharma’s case, the Prime Minister) simply make up their own rules. No investigator can ever be truly ‘independent and impartial’ if they are engaged, instructed and paid for by one of the vested parties to the employment relationship.

For clarification, New Zealand has no truly “independent and impartial” investigators, an issue that CultureSafe NZ Ltd has raised for more than eight years. We have also offered solutions.

Dr Sharma claims to have conducted many constituent clinics but the articles in Indian Newslink claimed that he did not.

Dr Sharma said, “I have done 52 constituent clinics in every neighbourhood in Hamilton. You (Allan Hulse) were at one of these too as was one of your clients whom I met twice. Every single clinic was fully booked and we often had extra walk-ins. Not only I did the highest number of constituent clinics than any other MP and resolved people’s issues, but I also published data on what type of cases came through my office. For him to say that I am not working for the community is absolutely a lie.”

My client, whom Dr Sharma refers to above is a Fijian Indian who had been suicidal and is still waiting for an ERA investigation meeting 18 months later. He has been impressed with Dr Sharma.

Other points made by Dr Sharma are (1) Why did my concerns as a whistleblower not get taken seriously and instead Parliamentary Services reported them to the Labour Party which is not just unethical but also borderline criminal (2) Why did the Speaker who is supposed to be neutral say to me that my career will end if I make the complaint and then the Speaker within minutes went on to tell the Party Whips what I had said. He is supposed to be independent (3) Why is Labour not concerned about other MPs who as evident from the screenshots have also claimed they have been bullied (4) Why did the PM lie about predetermination when she had organised a pre-meeting in which one senior MP then explained in detail over a 55-minute conversation (5) What about the concerns raised by Louisa Wall regarding  Labour Party’s culture? (6) Why were issues not resolved for 1.5 years but when my lawyer attended the meeting, within 30 minutes, all staffing issues had been resolved? But they still refused to look into the bullying claims that I had made (7) What about the serious concerns that I had raised about staff being drunk at work, not showing up to work and not being competent? All of those complaints were in writing and not investigated. But when staff during exit interviews made claims, those claims were used against me. Despite Parliamentary Services clearly saying that they had not investigated anything and no intention to investigate.”

These matters can only be resolved by the Prime Minister and the Labour Party agreeing to a truly independent and impartial investigation into the entire matter.

Other articles written by Allan Halse will appear shortly.

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