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Report: complaints about Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha

Report on complaints about Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha

December 2018

PART 1: INTRODUCTION

Introduction

1. The Authority has received three complaints concerning the behaviour of Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha.

2. A summary of the Authority’s conclusions is set out in paragraphs 185 – 187.

3. At the time of the first and second complaints, Deputy Commissioner Haumaha held the rank of Superintendent and was a Deputy Chief Executive. Throughout this report, however, he is referred to as DC Haumaha.

4. The first and second complaints allege bullying behaviour in 2016 in the course of work on the Improving Māori Justice Outcomes Project. The third complaint alleges that, in August 2018, DC Haumaha pressured members of his staff to provide information that would help him to defend the allegations made by the first two complainants. Each complaint is described in greater detail in Part 3 of the report.

[…]

OVERALL CONCLUSIONS

185. Based on the evidence it has received, the Authority has concluded, in respect of the first and second complaints, that some of DC Haumaha’s behaviour was inappropriate and unprofessional. However, while that behaviour was in many respects consistent with the common usage of the term ‘bullying’, it does not demonstrate the persistence implicit in the WorkSafe definition applicable to the workplace.

186. In respect of the third complaint, the Authority has found that DC Haumaha acted improperly by approaching staff and others to provide information to support him to refute the allegations about his 2016 conduct, or solicited other staff to do so on his behalf. The Authority also found that DC Haumaha should not have circulated personal information about a non-Police member of the project team, which he did to discredit them.

187. Specifically, the Authority has concluded:

Incident 1 - conversation with DC Haumaha probably following meeting with Ministers on 30 March 2016

1) The Authority has not identified any unreasonable or unjustified behaviour by DC Haumaha in relation to this incident.

Incident 2 - discussion following meeting of Justice Sector Leadership Board on 21 April 2016

2) DC Haumaha was justified in telling the team what he thought about the JSLB meeting, and his behaviour in stopping Team member A from speaking was not unreasonable in the circumstances.

Incident 3 - argument between DC Haumaha and Team member A on 5 May 2016

3) Team member A contributed to the argument but, in the Authority’s view, DC Haumaha was determined to assert his authority and did so loudly, aggressively and argumentatively. His behaviour, in entering into an argument in front of other staff and members of the team, and in asserting himself as he did (including by putting his leg on the chair immediately in front of Team member A), was inappropriate and unprofessional. On any reasonable view of it, it was intimidating, whether it was designed to be or not.

Incident 4 - Project team meeting on 2 June 2016

4) DC Haumaha’s overall behaviour in the meeting of 2 June 2016 was inappropriate and unprofessional for a senior executive. DC Haumaha’s response to Team member D was belittling and humiliating, and his general approach to the group was unnecessarily autocratic.

5) It was inappropriate for DC Haumaha to demand individual commitment in the presence of others in the manner in which he did. The Authority is satisfied that his request could reasonably have been interpreted as a demand for commitment to his leadership of the project.

6) DC Haumaha’s behaviour warranted an apology and he was wrong to refuse to apologise to the three team members.

Complaint 3

7) Even though DC Haumaha was acting on legal advice, he acted improperly by approaching staff for information to assist him, whether such approaches were direct or made on his behalf by Employee Y.

8) By making such requests, he was implicitly asking staff to support him, and he failed to consider the impact of his requests on the staff concerned. Staff were made uncomfortable by DC Haumaha’s requests and did not feel that they could safely refuse without being seen by him or by Employee Y as disloyal, with consequent repercussions for career progression.

9) DC Haumaha acted improperly by asking two staff members to solicit support on his behalf.

10) DC Haumaha acted improperly by divulging the information sent to him by the Corrections Sponsor that largely concerned Team member A. In the Authority’s view, his primary intention in circulating the information was to discredit Team member A.

Full report: ICPA_Haumaha_public_report.pdf

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