25 September 2023

NEW ZEALAND: New rules for PS bullying

Start the conversation


The New Zealand State Services Commission is to introduce a new set of bullying standards after Departments admitted staff were not reporting bullying and harassment.

As a result, it is believed bad behaviour is likely to be much more common than official figures portray.

Concern over workplace bullying in Public Service Departments has also led to calls for the “incompetency” of managers to be addressed.

Some Departments said their figures were “artificially low” and, in many cases, Departments had started reporting bullying only in the past couple of years as the issue gained more public attention.

State Services Commissioner, Peter Hughes (pictured) said he was working on new standards that would be issued to all Government Agencies soon.

“There will be a focus on preventing bullying and sexual harassment and creating positive workplace cultures to stop poor behaviour gaining a foothold,” Mr Hughes said.

“However, the best way to drive change and create positive work environments is strong leadership and all Public Service Chief Executives are working together to do that.”

He said bullying was not unique to the state sector but, like many other New Zealand workplaces, “we can do better in this area and we will”.

“The bottom line is that everyone working in the Public Service is entitled to work in a safe and inclusive workplace, where people treat one another with respect,” Mr Hughes said.

“The State Services Code of Conduct is very clear on this.”

Director of Culture Safe New Zealand, Allan Halse said workers were afraid to complain for fear of retaliation — more so in Government Departments because they were almost a closed shop.

“A lot of employees are career Public Servants moving between Departments and are afraid to get offside with management and be blacklisted,” Mr Halse said.

“If you raise a bullying complaint and blot your copybook, you are not likely to get a job somewhere else.”

Wellington, 21 May 2019

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.