PM's ponytail-pull case thrown out

  • 29/10/2015
Prime Minister John Key (AAP)
Prime Minister John Key (AAP)

A sexual harassment case against Prime Minister John Key over the infamous ponytail scandal has been thrown out.

The Human Rights Tribunal today dismissed a claim brought against Mr Key by serial litigant Graham McCready which claimed the Prime Minister had breached the Human Rights Act when he pulled waitress Amanda Bailey's hair while she was working at a cafe in April.

Mr McCready in May attempted to have the Prime Minister charged with assault over the matter, but laid the human rights complaint when this failed.

In its finding, the Tribunal noted third parties were allow to bring cases, but said Ms Bailey had no part in the claim and Mr McCready's case had been strung together from media reports for the benefit of his own company.

"Ms Bailey has given neither her consent, nor her co-operation," it said.

"As with the attempted criminal prosecution, it had brought the proceedings for its own purposes, not to vindicate the rights of an otherwise voiceless or disempowered individual."

The Tribunal said Mr McCready had no grounds on which to bring the case, because the particular part of the Human Rights Act applied concerned employment relationships – and Mr Key had nothing to do with Ms Bailey's job.

"The sexual harassment provisions of the Act do not apply to a customer or a client of the employer," it said.

"[Mr Key] did not have any involvement in employment at the cafe in question."

Mr McCready's complaint asked for Ms Bailey to be compensated over the incident.

The pontyail controversy surfaced in April, when Ms Bailey, a 26-year-old Auckland waitress, said Mr Key repeatedly pulled her ponytail, against her wishes, at the Parnell cafe where she worked.

Mr Key apologised to Ms Bailey and said his actions were "very, very silly" following a chorus of condemnation at the time including from Human Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue.