Former KiwiBuild boss Stephen Barclay says he is pursuing a case of constructive dismissal against the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

This comes after the Ministry revealed earlier today that Barclay resigned amid an employment investigation that revealed complaints from employees, contractors and stakeholders regarding his "leadership behaviour".

In a statement, again through a private public relations company, Barclay said he was extremely disappointed that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD) had divulged details of an employment matter.

He said he considered this a breach of privacy and felt he had no choice but to respond.


But State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes said in a statement he was satisfied with the way the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Crips had managed this employment matter involving the head of KiwiBuild, Mr Barclay.

"His actions are consistent with what I would expect of a public service chief executive.

"I am acquainted with the facts of this case and they do not support a number of statements in the media release issued by Mr Barclay's Public Relations Company today."

Speaking to Newstalk ZB this evening, Barclay said he was "gobsmacked" at Crisp's statement, saying he was "staggered" by its tone.

He said not long after he resigned on January 18, his lawyer made it very clear to Crisp he intended to sue MHUD.

Addressing the claims that an investigation found there were "leadership behaviour" issues, Barclay described his management style as "direct".

"I sort of say it how it is; I expect people to have a point of view and tell me what their point of view is and noodle it around, we make decisions and move on.

"I'm known as an implementer, I get things done. I think it's a clash of management styles."


He was highly critical of Crisp's decision to conduct the investigation internally.

"I asked for that investigation to be handled by someone independent, not by Andrew Crisp who has a personal relationship with all of the complainants."

Although he said it was "absolutely" his decision to resign "for the good of the KiwiBuild programme" he claimed he was forced out because he didn't "fit the mould of the public service and, in particular, Andrew [Crisp's] view of the public service."

In terms of the KiwiBuild policy itself, he said the wheels "seem to have fallen off."
Last week it was revealed that just 300 KiwiBuild houses would be completed by July this year – the target was 1000.

Barclay said that at the end of October, he and Crisp were debating whether the number was 600 or 500 were on track to be completed by July this year.

"I don't know how it's gone to that down to 300 now … my understanding is a whole lot of red tape and other things have taken some projects off the table."

Barclay was employed by MBIE from July to October 2018 when the KiwiBuild programme was transferred to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the statement from the PR company today said.

During this period, there were no issues raised about his performance, management style or leadership," the statement said.

"Within two weeks of the KiwiBuild programme moving to MHUD, he can confirm there were a small number of complaints from individuals who held a close relationship to the Chief Executive, Mr [Andrew] Crisp."

The statement said the nature of the complaints related to Barclay's direct management style and dealings with certain individuals.

"They were entirely linked to the implementation of the KiwiBuild programme which was Mr Barclay's only remit.

"His commitment was to execute against the targets of the KiwiBuild programme, and he was attempting to do this at pace.

"As soon as Mr Barclay was informed of the complaints, he responded to them within the week, requesting the complaints be independently investigated and additional people relevant to the complaints be questioned.

"These requests were repeatedly denied and Mr Barclay was suspended from his role for more than two months.

"This made his position untenable and led to him resign in his and the KiwiBuild programme's best interests.

At the point in which he was suspended, the number of KiwiBuild homes was on track to meet the Year One target, the statement said.

A spokesman for Housing Minister Phil Twyford said as Stephen Barclay's former employer, Andrew Crisp is best placed to comment on his departure and it's not appropriate for Minister Twyford to comment on an employment matter regarding a public servant.