Whistleblower breaks his silence

By Danielle Nicholson danielle.nicholson@apn.co.nz

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Allan Halse blew the whistle on a culture of bullying and harassment at Hamilton City Council.
Allan Halse blew the whistle on a culture of bullying and harassment at Hamilton City Council.

Allan Halse broke his silence this afternoon, the day after he was dismissed from his role as a property officer at Hamilton City Council.

Mr Halse told Hamilton News that he doesn't want to detract from the issue he's staunchly stood up for: the health and safety of council staff members. "My focus has always been on supporting the victims of bullying."

He doesn't want this to become a political tussle, though that will invariably play out on the sidelines.

Halse was headhunted six years ago - in fact, he was dismissed exactly six years to the day that he first started work at council - in a team leader role. "A staff climate survey had shown staff were disengaged; it was my brief to increase engagement. In my attempt to do that I identified the problem and have got to this point."

It was Halse who was responsible for securing council's agreement - as part of a staff member's 'exit package' - to bring in Quality Environmental Consulting (QEC) to conduct an audit of council's health and safety policies and framework.

A press release issued by council in December stated that QEC would again be engaged this year "to review and close the 39 recommendations from the May 2013 assessment of procedures in place to manage selected significant hazards associated with perceived workplace bullying and stress"

But Halse is sceptical at what QEC will find. "In my opinion, another audit will reveal that nothing has changed."

Halse has received an outpouring of support since his dismissal, inundated with Facebook posts and messages, phone calls, text messages and emails offering kind words and offers of practical assistance.

His legal team has elevated the case to the Employment Relations Authority and a date for a mediation hearing has been set down for February 13.

- Hamilton News

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