MPs react after Labour's Gaurav Sharma alleges rampant bullying at Parliament

 Politicians are responding to a Labour MP's allegations there is rampant bullying in the halls of Parliament.

On Thursday afternoon, the New Zealand Herald published an opinion piece by Labour MP Dr Gaurav Sharma, where he claimed bullying was rampant and Parliament uses the Parliamentary Service to bully and harass their MPs "to keep them in line".

It comes amid allegations of bullying behaviour earlier this week, which saw National Party MP Sam Uffindell stood down from Parliament, pending an investigation.

In his opinion piece, Dr Sharma wrote that MPs' constituents "would be appalled if they saw even half of what their elected representatives have to bear in terms of harassment from inside the Parliament".

He said if any of his more recent colleagues could speak freely, he's sure "the list of similar stories with no support for MPs being bullied and no consequences for MPs bullying their colleagues would easily fill a book or two".

Dr Sharma also expressed "much concern" around the Parliamentary Service. He claimed it can be "weeks and months" before receiving a reply to urgent issues, and when they do have an answer, "it is seldom in writing and often from behind the desk of the party whips".

In response to Dr Sharma's accusations of the alleged bullying that occurs in Parliament, Parliamentary Service chief executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero said they do what they can to support MPs.

"It is also important to make it clear that the Service cannot direct MPs what to do and how to act. MPs are elected representatives of New Zealand's citizens and that would impinge on New Zealand's democracy and the free right of MPs as elected representatives of New Zealand's citizens," he said.

"It is our responsibility to promote a healthy and secure culture within our workplace, and we have made significant progress on this following the 2019 External Independent Review into Bullying and Harassment in the New Zealand Parliamentary Workplace."

Gonzalez-Montero added they have worked closely with the Labour Whip office to discuss any employment matters with Dr Sharma.

Labour Whip Duncan Webb confirmed he has been working with Parliamentary Services and Dr Sharma to address "employment matters".

"We had been working to provide support for Gaurav and find a solution," Webb said in a statement.

"We're committed to reaching an outcome everyone is happy with."

Labour MP Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki, who is Dr Sharma's office neighbour, said she had no idea he felt that way and was surprised by the bullying allegations he made.

"I am saddened that that's his experience. I'm his office neighbour. It did come as a surprise to me and I am just sad he didn't share as a neighbour. I felt that I could be someone he could confide in."

National MP Matt Doocey said Dr Sharma's opinion piece raised questions about what really goes on in the Labour Party.

"I think it's interesting, as a former senior whip for the National Party, that he spoke so openly about the Labour Whip's office where he talked about gaslighting and victimisation and I think there is some serious questions to be asked there and think that's for the Labour Party to respond," Doocey said.

When various MPs were asked by Newshub on Thursday if they had experienced bullying or had an unpleasant experience with Parliamentary Services themselves, they all said no.

"I personally haven't experienced anything like that or witnessed anything like that," Labour MP and Minister Chris Hipkins said.

Doocey said he only had "a very good experience" with Parliamentary Services.

"It's a very difficult job. Quite often, they're brought in when there is relationship breakdowns and I have found them fairly professional, so I support them."

Kanongata'a-Suisuiki also said she had not experienced any bullying while in Parliament.

Labour Party MP Willie Jackson said they are going to have ask Dr Sharma himself about the allegations of bullying, but he does not think there is bullying within the political party.

"I have never seen it in my life. You're going to have to talk to him but I have never seen it. We are great whānau."