A whistleblower has been ordered to pay $6000 for writing disparaging letters to politicians David Cunliffe and Steven Joyce about the Taranaki polytech where she used to work.

Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (Witt) hired three handwriting analysts to ascertain whether the letters were written by Angela Parr, former personal assistant to Witt chief executive Barbara George. All three concluded that in all likelihood they were.

Employment Relations Authority concluded that Parr's actions were "flagrant, deliberate and at the upper end of wrongdoing".

"Furthermore by her defence Mrs Parr has shown no remorse. There is a strong case for condemnation and a need for deterrence."


Former Labour Party leader David Cunliffe tabled a redacted version of one of the letters to Parliament in February last year, which led National's Steven Joyce and the Tertiary Education Commission (Tec) to seek information about Witt.

As a result of that process, Witt's chief executive, Barbara George, saw a unredacted letter signed by someone unknown to her -- F Jacks."

In May 2016 another letter, also signed "F Jacks" was sent to Joyce, which made various negative observations about Witt's then-chairwoman, Mary Bourke.

Letters were also sent to the TSB Community Trust and the Bishops Action Foundation, with which Bourke was associated.

"Ms Bourke, unsurprisingly, was less than impressed," the ERA decision said.

Parr had worked at Witt for about six years until 2013 she left after a personal grievance application. That was resolved by mutual agreement, which included the condition that: "Mrs Parr will not make any negative or disparaging statement publicly about WITT or any of its officers or employees."

Bourke showed the May 2016 letter and the hand-written envelope to chief executive George who recognised the writing.

She sent copies of the letter and the envelope to three handwriting experts, along with various documents from Parr's file for comparison.


They noticed the handwriting was familiar and Patricia James, a senior document examiner at Police National Headquarters, concluded the handwriting was Parr's.
Witt asked that Parr stop writing letters, but she denied being the author. Howevever, she also argued to the authority that letters sent to ministers should not be considered public.

The authority disagreed.

"Ministers are public officials," said authority member Mike Loftus.

He also concluded Parr had written the letters and they were negative and disparaging.

Parr had acknowledged that she still harboured grudges against Witt and Bourke and admitted writing to Cunliffe about the institution.

Parr was ordered to pay Witt $6000 by September 6.

Parr, Witt and Cunliffe are being sought for comment.