A group of trades staff from a tertiary institution who took a sex doll and toys on a weekend fishing trip and made a video of the night were disciplined for serious misconduct after the video was leaked.

The Herald understands the group faced serious disciplinary action over the incident in April this year from their employer, Wintec, in Hamilton.

The fishing trip near Thames is understood to be an annual event among male tutors in the trades centre.

Video of the session, in which the men were understood to be drinking alcohol, was later shown to management.


A source close to Wintec said staff in the trades centre were told at the time "there was a fishing trip, something went wrong, it was confidential and they weren't allowed to know what it was".

When asked by the Herald about the use of sex aids on the trip and video evidence of the event, Wintec confirmed it was made aware in May of an incident that involved serious misconduct by trades staff.

Wintec acting chief executive David Christiansen said the situation was treated as an employment relations matter and under the policies Wintec has for dealing with serious misconduct.

"Wintec took this matter extremely seriously and acted quickly and robustly, undertaking an immediate investigation into the incident."

The investigation has been concluded and the outcomes were confidential.

"Wintec is extremely disappointed this incident occurred and has no tolerance for behaviour which demonstrate serious misconduct," Christiansen said.

Wintec said it was unable to comment further on employment relations matters.

An investigation into historic allegations against Wintec chief executive Mark Flowers was reopened the same month trades staff were disciplined for serious misconduct. Photo / File
An investigation into historic allegations against Wintec chief executive Mark Flowers was reopened the same month trades staff were disciplined for serious misconduct. Photo / File

The action by Wintec against the trades staff came the same month it announced it would reopen an investigation into its chief executive officer Mark Flowers, who is now on extended sick leave.


Flowers is at the centre of the investigation into allegations concerning his conduct relating to events in 2013 and earlier, and a separate audit into his expenses.

In May Wintec said it would review an investigation into the historic allegations after a peer review found the initial process carried out in 2015 was lacking.

On Friday Wintec Council chairman Barry Harris announced the scope of the independent inquiry, which has now begun, and that top Auckland lawyer Simon Mount, QC, would lead it.

The $100,000 inquiry is expected by the end of November.

Wintec declined to release details of the complaints and allegations relating to Flowers, citing confidentiality and privacy.

The source said the trades incident reflected a lack of moral and ethical code among some management at Wintec.

"It really indicates the kind of culture there. There's an old school, sexist, macho culture."

Meanwhile the outcome of an Audit NZ investigation into Flowers' travel expenses to Asia between 2009 and 2017 was expected soon.

The $80,000 report would include a probe into expenses incurred by Flowers and his executive team during that nine year period in relation to travel to Hong Kong and China.

Any other travel taken by the chief executive and his executive team between 2013 and 2017 was also being explored.

Audit NZ was also told to look at whether the redundancy and severance payments, including those bound by confidentiality agreements, made to staff between 2013 and 2017 met Wintec's policies and the Office of the Auditor General's standards and good practice guidelines.

Wintec has made up to 45 confidential settlements at a significant cost to taxpayers in the past nine years.

And by November last year it had spent almost $175,000 and 18 months fending off media stories about the organisation, its chief executive and staff.