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Parliament has been given an official code of conduct and a stern warning from the Speaker that bad behaviour will be publicly exposed.

It comes after a month of scandal, including Iain Lees-Galloway's extra-marital affair, a police investigation into Andrew Fallon sending women unsolicited pornography and Hamish Walker leaking Covid-19 patient details.

And an independent review by Debbie Francis last year found there was virtually no part of Parliament that was untouched by a toxic culture.

Speaker Trevor Mallard said it was his hope the Code of Conduct, circulated this afternoon, would "lift the behaviour of MPs and staff and improve the culture of Parliament".

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"What I'm hoping is it will cause both MPs and senior staff … to pause and think more, before they act inappropriately."

Mallard said it was his view MPs who don't comply should be publicly exposed.

"What I want to do is essentially work out a one-strike rule."

He said as long as it's not an "exceptionally serious" issue, people get one chance to get the mentoring and coaching.

And by that, he means: "They can expect to become public".

Former Labour Cabinet Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Former Labour Cabinet Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Code has seven commandments:

1. Show that bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, are unacceptable - and promising to hold people to account.

2. Speak up if we observe unacceptable behaviour - and expect complaints to be investigated without reprisals against the complainant.

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3. Use our position of power or influence to help others, and avoid harm - and ensure power or authority are used for good and not abused.

4. Act respectfully and professionally - and be considerate of people's boundaries and respect their right to a private life.

5. Behave fairly and genuinely, treating others the way we would like to be treated - including being trustworthy stewards of information.

6. Encourage diverse perspectives, and the free and frank expression of views - and provide opportunities for people with different ideas and perspectives.

7. Foster an environment where people feel safe and valued - including being kind and recognising the contributions of others.

Former National Party MP Andrew Falloon. Photo / Jason Walls
Former National Party MP Andrew Falloon. Photo / Jason Walls

Labour, National and the Green Party will sign up to the Code. The Herald has also approached NZ First and Act.

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Labour's Angie Warren-Clark, who was the party's representative on the Francis report, said they were committed to making Parliament a better workplace with "high standards of behaviour".

National leader Judith Collins said robust parliamentary debate would occasionally be needed in the interest of good democracy "but bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviours should not be accepted in the parliamentary environment or elsewhere".

Green spokesperson for workplace relations, Jan Logie, said the expectations on acceptable behaviour in Parliament had been unclear for too long.

"[This has] resulted in behaviours that have made people in Parliament feel unsafe, with an increased exposure to bullying and harassment.

"People deserve to have trust in Parliament. We look forward to the time when Parliament provides a positive example to the rest of the country."

Speaker Trevor Mallard says he'll publicly out an MP if they don't address their bad behaviour. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Speaker Trevor Mallard says he'll publicly out an MP if they don't address their bad behaviour. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Last year, Mallard ordered an independent review by Francis of bullying and harassment in the workplace at Parliament.

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One respondent told of sleeping with their mobile phone under their pillow in case of an abusive midnight call or text from their MP.

Another said it became a joke in the office of one MP that it was like "battered wife syndrome".

It also found a potential sexual predator who might be responsible for serious sex assaults.

Francis said the unique nature of the parliamentary workplace created risk factors for bullying and harassment, including high intensity, a lack of investment in leadership development, unusual and complex employment arrangements, barriers to making complaints and inadequate pastoral care.

Unacceptable conduct was too often tolerated or normalised, the identities of many accused were an open secret and there were alleged serial offenders, and there was perceived low accountability, particularly for MPs who faced few sanctions.

"The changes needed to the culture of the parliamentary workplace are comprehensive and complex. They will require skilled implantation and must be sustained and monitored over a period of years," Francis said.

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The report detailed bullying by MPs, between office staff, between MPs, of staff by managers, by the public and by the media.

It also found staff were reluctant to speak out and the process was not easily navigated.