The National Party's culture review fails to mention what prompted it

The National Party has released a summary of recommendations made by a health and safety review, but it doesn't address the alleged behaviours that prompted it. 

The party sent out a press release on Tuesday with some recommendations made by the review, as well as a link to its new draft code of conduct, but it didn't release the full review itself. 

The alleged behaviours that prompted the review also haven't been mentioned in what National released - allegations of fraud, harassment and bullying late last year. 

National announced an independent review into its culture in October after leader Simon Bridges was accused of electoral fraud by former National MP and now-Independent Jami-Lee Ross. 

Ross released secretly recorded audio in which Bridges could be heard criticising several MPs and made comments some labelled racist.

The review was also sparked by Ross himself facing accusations of harassment and bullying by multiple women, which National Party president Peter Goodfellow had reportedly known about for years

The recommendations for National included reviewing the party's health and safety policies annually and including in it what constitutes bullying and harassment. It also recommended the party consider introducing a code of conduct policy. 

A link to National's code of conduct draft was provided. It outlines how breaches of conduct can be dealt with, including ways to make a formal complaint, how to respond to a complaint, the investigation process, and disciplinary actions. 

National leader Simon Bridges and National MP Amy Adams.
National leader Simon Bridges and National MP Amy Adams. Photo credit: Newshub / Zane Small

But when asked why the material didn't mention anything about the specific allegations that prompted it, Bridges said: "It was never about that."

The party leader said he's "done something proactively here that no other leader in this Parliament has done", pointing to the Labour Party and how it's handled recent internal scandals. 

"Jacinda Ardern has had a summer camp where they had a review and nothing's changed. She's had a situation where Meka Whaitiri, on legal report, assaulted a staffer and nothing has happened," Bridges said. 

"Nothing about the investigation has been made public in any way, shape or form."

Labour also released recommendations last year from a review launched to investigate the culture of Young Labour camps after allegations of sexual assault arose.

Labour Party President Nigel Haworth said the party released all the recommendations from the inquiry into the summer camp in full, but not the full report. 

He told Newshub: "We couldn't release the full text of the report due to the confidentiality requirements of those involved and because the legal case is still before the courts."

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri.
Labour MP Meka Whaitiri. Photo credit: File

In another incident, Labour MP Meka Whaitiri was removed as a minister by the Prime Minister in September over allegations she physically assaulted a staff member, which Whaitiri continues to deny

Bridges said: "When Meka Whaitiri, a Member of Parliament, on a legal report the Prime Minister received assaulted someone, nothing [was] done or changed in the Labour Party about that... I've taken steps of leadership here."

Bridges said every member of the National Party, including female MPs, were able to have their say in the National Party's 'health and safety' review. 

"What I can confirm is that female Members of Parliament have been part of this process," he said. "There's been a huge amount of work that's gone into it.

"We've consulted the membership of the National Party at every single region, we have gone to Caucus a number of times on the detail of this."

Details of National's review come off the back of an inquiry into the culture in Parliament that uncovered allegations of sexual harassment or violent behaviours, ranging from unwanted touching to sexual assault.

It led to a parliamentary staff member being stood down last week following an "historic allegation of assault" of a "sexual nature".

Newshub.

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