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Meka Whaitiri 'disappointed' in her own behaviour as report into alleged bullying by Labour MP released

Sacked minister Meka Whaitiri says she is "disappointed" in her behaviour, as the redacted report into her altercation with her press secretary is released.

Ms Whaitiri was stripped of her ministerial responsibilities after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lost confidence in her over an altercation with her press secretary at an event in Gisborne in late August.

The report into what happened was leaked to media last month and revealed the press secretary was left with bruises on her arm.

The report - which was publicly released today - found it was "more likely than not" that the unnamed employee was left with a bruise after being grabbed by Ms Whaitiri.

The documents confirm reports last week that it was probable that the employee's version of events was more likely than the Minister's.

A heavily-redacted letter from Meka Whaitiri's lawyer to Mr Patten pushing back against the contents of the draft report was also included in today's release.

In a statement, Ms Whaitiri said she welcomed the public release of the official investigation report and the associated information.

"At all times I have fully cooperated with the investigation.

"As noted I contested some of the allegations.

"However I am disappointed my behaviour led to a complaint. I am committed to my own development, including better managing employment relationships."

She said she had accepted the decision to strip her of her ministerial duties, and intended to work hard to regain the prime minister's confidence.

"I am focusing on working hard for the people of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, as a member of Labour and Māori Caucus and contributing as a Member of Parliament."

The report can be seen here.

In its summary, the three findings were: 

Findng 1: Did the Minister Grab Employee A by the Arm

"It is my view that the explanation provided to me by Employee A is a more probable explanation as to what happened than the explanation provided to me by the Minister. That is, rather than the encounter between the two of them in the foyer being a
face to face encounter as described to me by the Minister, the Minister in fact approached Employee A from slightly behind and grabbed Employee A by the arm."

Finding 2: Did the Minister drag/pull Employee A from the room?

I find that the Minister did not pull and/or drag Employee A from the foyer. She did take Employee A outside the building where the meeting was taking place. 

Finding 3: Did the Minister raise her voice at Employee A immediately after the Minister, during the luncheon adjournment, observed that she was not in the huddle/stand-up?

"It is my view that the explanation provided to me by Employee A is a more probable explanation as to what happened than the explanation provided to me by the Minister.

"That is, when Employee A and the Minister went outside (from the foyer) to observe the huddle/stand-up, the Minister did speak to Employee A in a raised voice."


Ms Whaitiri returned to the Beehive today as a local MP, in support of a treaty settlement.
Source: 1 NEWS