Bullying Free NZ Policy

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Our Vision: We want to create a country where we are admired by the world not just because of our wonderful natural environment, but because of the way we live. A way of life that protects and enhances that environment.

To alleviate the harm of bullying and its cost to our nation’s happiness and wellbeing, the NZ Outdoors Party will create a nationwide, all level strategy to reduce bullying in New Zealand.

Bullying as a public health issue

When people think of bullying, picture of children being taunted, teased or physically abused by their peers likely come to mind.  But as well as these common manifestations of the problem, bullying can also be seen as a public health issue.

Bullying carries both physical and psychological health effects and is linked to a wide range of health issues.

Those bullied and their bullies alike complain of headaches , stomach aches, have difficulty sleeping and fall victim to psychological symptoms, most notably depression and “very significant anxiety”. Victims of bullying are at a significant risk of hurting themselves.

Bullying can affect children in the home, adolescents in relationships and adults, with workplace bullies creating workplace “Warzones”.   Bullying, including cyber-bullying and sexual harassment, is a multifaceted form of maltreatment which occurs across different social settings.

Bullying alters the stress response system in the brain.  These changes can impair cognitive functions and the person’s ability to self-regulate their emotions.

Bullies become bullies from a very early age.  If bullying behaviour is not picked up and resolved at school age, these school bullies may grow up to be adult bullies.

To alleviate the harm of bullying and its cost to our nation’s happiness and wellbeing, the NZ Outdoors Party will create a nationwide, all level strategy to reduce bullying in New Zealand:

  • Contributing to community and school programs to increase the public’s awareness of bullying which helps to promote a more respectful environment;
  • By ensuring that Teachers, Managers and Supervisors have been provided with the necessary training to enable them to provide effective people leadership, develop their intrapersonal awareness and skills in people management, including performance management and coaching;
  • Invest in those who are the educators and leaders and provide them with ALL the necessary tools to ensure they are fit for the roles they have been placed in.
  • Ensure there is no tolerance for misaligned behaviours or inappropriate leadership styles at senior levels
  • To include bullying-related questions in standard health screening to help identify it and its symptoms; and,
  • By treating not just the physical symptoms of bullying, but also the psychological ones like depression and anxiety that may increase the risk for self-harm, substance abuse and suicide

Change our workplace bullying culture.

New Zealand has the world’s second highest rate of bullying in the workplace. The health risks that result from bullying have a moderate to high likelihood of occurring and moderate to severe adverse consequences.

As well as the worker/s being bullied, those observing it (called bystanders) can also suffer harm.

Bullying can also negatively impact the entire workforce and result in:

  • A hostile work environment
  • Decreased worker health and well-being, motivation, performance and commitment
  • Workers attending work while sick or taking more sick leave
  • Increased worker turnover

Who has health and safety duties and obligations?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) is New Zealand’s key work health and safety legislation.  It sets out the work health and safety duties that must be complied with.

All work and workplaces are covered by HSWA unless specifically excluded.

WorkSafe New Zealand (WorkSafe) is the work health and safety regulator.

Under HSWA, everyone at a workplace has health and safety duties and so has a role in dealing with bullying. There are four types of people that have duties under HSWA – persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs), officers, workers and other persons at workplaces.

The Effects of Workplace Bullying

The effects of workplace bullying don’t end when you leave the office.  Being a victim of bullying can cause physical and psychological problems  such as:

  • stress,
  • anxiety,
  • panic attacks,
  • trouble sleeping.

Bullying affects Job Performance

Bullied workers can’t perform their jobs to the best of their ability.  Performance issues include:

  • an incapacity to work or concentrate
  • having trouble making decisions
  • a loss of self esteem
  • lower productivity

Bullied workers not only lose motivation, they lose time because they are preoccupied with:

  • trying to defend themselves
  • networking for support
  • ruminating about the situation
  • planning how to deal with situation
  • coping with the effects the situation is having on their home and personal life
  • feelings of isolation
  • leaving the victim so traumatised that they feel powerless, disorientated, confused and helplessness
  • suicidal thoughts
  • and they are prescribed antidepressants, sleeping pills and tranquilisers

Effects on the Employers of Bullies

Workplace bullying has detrimental effects on employers, not just the victim and their co-workers who witness it.  In addition to disrupting the work environment and impacting worker morale it can also:

  • reduce productivity
  • create a hostile work environment
  • promote absenteeism
  • impact worker compensation claims
  • result in costly and possibly embarrassing legal issues

Other costly effects on the employer include:

  • Increased use of sick leave, health care claims and staff turnover
  • Erosion of employee loyalty and commitment
  • Additional costs to recruit and train new employees
  • Poor public image and negative publicity
  • Increased risk of legal action

There are no winners

Employers must offer education opportunities for managers, supervisors and other authority figures because the majority of workplace bullying comes from bullying bosses.

Employers must strive to create a workplace environment that cultivates teamwork, cooperation and positive interaction instead.

New Zealand has the world’s second highest rate of bullying in the workplace.  Statistics suggest that over 350,000 (17.8% of workforce) employees are currently being bullied {1.2}

However currently the laws as they stand make it hard to combat.

There is no formal process or jurisdiction to combat workplace bullying behaviours in New Zealand.  This means there is no place in New Zealand to take a complaint about workplace bullying.

Presently cases are direct to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), however, the ERA can’t deal with workplace bullying as a health and safety issue.  Workplace bullying is a health and safety issue not an employment issue.

This means that cases are almost impossible to win and even if they are won are not settled appropriately.  For example even if you win a case you will be order to pay the costs of the bully’s legal fees {3}

There needs to be a specific formal jurisdiction set up in the legislation where workplace bullying complaints can be heard as health and safety cases.

There also needs to be trained professionals and independent investigators who know what bullying behaviours look like and how these behaviours impact people.  They also need to be independent so that the “sham” investigations that employers currently use can be left in the past and all evidence can be presented.

The Outdoors Party will address these problems and get rid of bullying from all our workplaces. 

References:

1 – http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/better-business/83618177/new-zealand-has-worlds-second-highest-rate-of-workplace-bullying

2 – https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11855415

3 – http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/67597611/former-health-board-employee-must-pay-costs

Definition of Bullying (adapted from Safe Work Australia’s definition)

Workplace bullying is: repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that can lead to physical or psychological harm.  
Repeated behaviour is persistent (occurs more than once) and can involve a range of actions over time
Unreasonable behaviour means actions that reasonable person in the same circumstances would see as unreasonable.  It includes victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening a person
Bullying may also include harassment, discrimination or violence
Workplace bullying is not: One-off or occasional instances of forgetfulness, rudeness or tactlessness
Setting high performance standards
Constructive feedback and legitimate advice or peer review
A manager requiring reasonable verbal or written work instruction to be carried out
Warning or disciplining workers in line with the business or undertaking’s code of conduct
A single incident of unreasonable behaviour
Reasonable management actions delivered in a reasonable way
Differences in opinion or personality clashes that do not escalate into bullying, harassment or violence

Outdoors Party: Our Code of Conduct

1. Be inclusive.

We welcome and support people of all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to members of any sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, social and economic class, educational level, colour, immigration status, sex, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability.

2. Be considerate.

We all depend on each other to produce the best work we can as an organisation. Your decisions will affect your colleagues and supporters, and you should take those consequences into account when making decisions.

3. Be respectful.

We won’t all agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for disrespectful behaviour. We will all experience frustration from time to time, but we cannot allow that frustration become personal attacks. An environment where people feel uncomfortable, bullied or threatened is not a productive or creative one.

4. Choose your words carefully.

Always conduct yourself professionally. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down others. Harassment and exclusionary behaviour aren’t acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Threats of violence.
  • Discriminatory jokes and language.
  • Sharing sexually explicit or violent material via electronic devices or other means.
  • Personal insults, especially those using racist or sexist terms.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviour

5. Don’t harass.

In general, if someone asks you to stop something, then stop. When we disagree, try to understand why. Differences of opinion and disagreements are mostly unavoidable. What is important is that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively. We are all volunteers doing our best to create an effective team. Most of us have other commitments and limited time. We have different life experiences which may make us sensitive to different triggers.

6. Make differences into strengths.

We can find strength in diversity. Different people have different perspectives on issues, and that can be valuable for solving problems or generating new ideas. Being unable to understand why someone holds a viewpoint doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. We all make mistakes, and blaming each other doesn’t get us anywhere.

Codes of conduct for political parties and their candidates

  • The NZ Outdoors Party seeks to be transparent and to raise the standard of conduct in New Zealand politics including by consistently modelling good conduct. 
  • Be fair. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.
  • Be honest. If you make a mistake you need to own it.
  • Do not engage in violence or intimidation, or in language or action or post on social media  that which might lead to violence or intimidation;
  • Do not react to any level of violence or intimidation but rather distance oneself away from any possible exposure;
  • Do not publish, post on social media or repeat false or defamatory allegations about political opponents;
  • Do not destroy, disfigure or remove other political parties’ campaign materials;
  • Do not plagiarize other political parties’ symbols, colours or acronyms;
  • Do not abuse positions of power, influence or privilege in respect of the election campaign or voting
  • Do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, class, gender or religion or legal occupation in connection with the election or electoral activity;
  • Cooperate with other political parties to avoid scheduling political activities at the same time and places;
  • Stick to the issues and the policies, not the personalities, except where it is necessary to do so to expose corruption, bullying or other concerning behaviour.

Breaches of the Code

  • If possible firstly raise any concern directly with the person responsible.
  • If you do not feel comfortable doing this, or if the person responsible does not respond satisfactorily, please raise it with one or more Board members.
  • Depending on the circumstances, the Board member may ask the complainant to provide a written report.
  • Concerns that are considered by the Board (or a Board subcommittee) to be of concern will be allocated to a Board member to investigate (“an investigation”).
  • The principles of natural justice and good faith will apply to each investigation. The accused will be given an opportunity to understand and consider the allegations and then provide a written or oral response. The investigator may exercise discretion to decide whether or not it is appropriate to disclose the name or any other details about the complainant.
  • If the investigator must update the Board on progress as soon as possible. If the investigator is concerned that any breach is serious they may seek approval from the Board to temporarily suspend the accused until complaint is resolved
  • If the investigation establishes a serious concern, the accused may be invited to appear before the board or a sub-committee of the Board.
  • After the investigation is complete, the Board at its discretion may reject the complaint, provide an oral or written warning and temporarily or permanently change or remove the membership and/or any duties of the accused so as best to uphold this code and protect the interests of the Party and its members.  
  • In deciding what action to take, the Board will take into account the seriousness of the breach, whether it was deliberate or accidental, and any previous complaints against that person. 
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Alan Simmons

Alan Simmons

President & Co-Leader Alan has dedicated a lifetime of involvement in outdoors political issues. He’s sat on a number of national body executives, boards, NGO and management groups, including the NZ Professional Hunting Guides Association, Electricorp Environmental Management Board, NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers and the NZ Professional Fishing Guides Association. Many will know him through his website, the hugely popular New Zealand FishnHunt forum.

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