One third of the staff at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet have been bullied or seen their colleagues subjected to bad behaviour, according to an email leaked to Radio NZ.

The email was from DPMC chief executive Andrew Kibblewhite to staff at the DPMC.

It follows a series of bullying allegations and reviews into bullying, including:

• Former staff and colleagues of Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross saying he bullied and intimidated them, which he has denied
• A physical altercation between Labour MP Meka Whaitiri which saw her lose her ministerial warrants; she disputes aspects of the claim
• Bullying claims against Retirement Commissioner Dianne Maxwell, which she denies. The State Services Commission is investigating.
• Two complaints of bullying from former staff of National MP Maggie Barry, which she refutes - one has laid a complaint with the Auditor-General.
• The National Party is conducting an internal review of workplace practices to ensure a safe culture, following the allegations against Ross
• Debbie Francis is leading an independent review of bullying at Parliament, launched by Speaker Trevor Mallard

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Kibblewhite did not think the DPMC was any worse than other government agencies.

"It's when you go and look really closely and encourage people to dig around in their experiences that they haven't enjoyed so much at work, you find some things that you don't like the sound of," he told Radio NZ.

"And that was certainly the case here - favouritism, exclusion, abruptness, unreasonableness. None of these things are the sorts of things you want in your workplace. So we're really keen to work with staff to go forward from there.

"We're not satisfied with a workplace that people are not fully happy and engaged and productive in."

He said he believed many of the complaints were historical.

"I don't think things have got worse in this department at all. If anything, the staff who have only been in DPMC a shorter period of time didn't have the memories of some of the negative behaviours that staff who might have been here a longer period of time - or in our predecessor agencies - were highlighting."