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Pilots Demand End to Alleged Bullying at Auckland Rescue

Pilots Demand End to Alleged Bullying at Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust


The New Zealand Air Line Pilots‘ Association is demanding an end to alleged bullying and harassment at the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust and wants an inquiry into both the Trust’s management and its governance board.

“Individuals and businesses donate millions of dollars to this charitable trust and they need confidence that the trust is well run, well governed and the staff are fairly treated. This is the worst case of bullying and harassment I have encountered in 18 years as a legal advocate in the aviation industry,” says Dawn Handforth, General Manager of NZALPA.

Pilots told the Trust board two years ago that they had been bullied for several years by the Chief Executive. No action was taken at that time, other than the Trust board advising its Chief Executive of the complaints.

Reports are that the bullying has continued and has worsened, to the point where staff are taking sick leave and feel their safety and well-being, and that of the public, is being put at risk.

“It must stop now,” says Dawn Handforth.

“We need a full inquiry looking at all aspects of management and governance at the Trust, to see how this was allowed to happen and to continue for so long. This was in spite of it being raised with the Trust board two years ago and no apparent action being taken - other than more bullying and harassment directed particularly at those who complained. The board must be held accountable.

“We also want to know what action the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is taking and why it has not stepped in before now.

“The staff are totally dedicated to their work and are only raising this now as they feel their safety and wellbeing is at risk.

“This must be addressed before an accident occurs,“ says Dawn Handforth.

“With news today that the Trust’s CEO is “moving on,” the public and staff who have supported this charitable trust for decades are entitled to know whether any Trust funds are being used as a pay out to him.

“There will also be concerns that the Trust board is letting him leave without being held to account for the bullying that has occurred for so many years.”

After accepting the Readers Digest Most Trusted Charity Award 2018 on behalf of a number of rescue helicopter organisations, including the ARHT, Chief Executive Greg Barrow said: “To be New Zealand’s Most Trusted Charity also means that you trust us to be the custodians of the millions of dollars raised every year from public donations. You trust that we will use the money wisely, that we will not be wasteful, you trust that your dollar goes to helping someone in need.” (https://www.rescuehelicopter.org.nz/news/blog )

NZALPA also questions whether a Chairman who ignored allegations of bullying from staff just two years ago - effectively sanctioning that bullying - is an appropriate acting CEO for the organisation.


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