2 Feb 2019

Government scale of complaints against Barclay

12:54 pm on 2 February 2019

The government is pushing back against Stephen Barclay's version of events about the circumstances leading up to his resignation as head of the KiwiBuild unit.

Stephen Barclay, head of the KiwiBuild unit

Stephen Barclay says the complaints against him relate to his style of management. Photo: RNZ / Patrick O'Meara

A note from the State Services Commission to the prime minister, released to RNZ, said there was "considerably more" to the complaints he had attributed to his management style.

Mr Barclay officially quit on 18 January after being suspended last year following complaints that were laid against him. He is now pursuing a case of constructive dismissal.

Housing Ministry chief executive Andrew Crisp said he received complaints from "employees, contractors, and stakeholders" about Mr Barclay's "leadership behaviour" and treatment of others.

"The allegations reflected behaviours that are not consistent with standards expected of senior public servants."

Housing Minister Phil Twyford has had to "recalibrate" the flagship programme, including the offer of financial assistance to developers,] to get it on track.

The SSC note was prepared for Jacinda Ardern earlier in the week after Mr Barclay did a round of media interviews.

Previously on Morning Report, Mr Barclay said the complaints related to his direct management style and his dealings with certain individuals; he would not detail the exact nature of the allegations but ruled out bullying or any financial or sexual misconduct.

The note said given his "commentary in the media" it was "fair to say that we're talking about something that amounts to considerably more than what has been described by Mr Barclay as his management style".

It also said there were "concerns about his behaviour" before the unit was transferred from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to the Housing Ministry (MBIE), and Mr Crisp's appointment as chief executive.

When asked for a response to the contents of the note, MBIE would not respond, saying it was an employment matter.

Mr Barclay also would not comment except to say he stood by his previous statements.

The note also said the numbers Mr Barclay reported to Mr Twyford fell well short of what had been confirmed.

"On 26 October 2018, Mr Barclay formally reported to the Minister 631 KiwiBuild dwellings with a high likelihood of delivery ... however, only 264 homes were contracted from the private sector or committed by Housing New Zealand.

"Currently, there are 293 houses that are contracted and committed for delivery in year one. Of those, the number for HNZ is 177," the note said.

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