Former Minister’s lawyer disputed bruising allegation
A redacted version of a report into an allegation of staff bullying against former Government minister Meka Whaitiri has finally been released.
The report, by Wellington lawyer David Patten, confirms what was said in a Herald report which said the new staff member was left with bruising after the encounter with Whaitiri at an event attended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Gisborne on August 27.
“After giving careful consideration to this matter, 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,” Patten said in the report.
“After considering this matter and, in particular, having regard to the information provided to me by Employee A, 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.”
Whaitiri has disputed elements of the report, and among the documents released yesterday is a redacted copy of a letter from her lawyer’s firm Simpson Grierson to Patten.
It refers to a “threatening email” sent to the Prime Minister on September 29 at 8.18am, which Simpson Grierson lawyer Sally McKechnie said contained strong language to describe the alleged events.
The email was sent by a person