The former head of an intellectual disability care service which was labelled dysfunctional by the Ministry of Health, says he knew of cases where staff struck clients.
Police have laid charges against some staff of Te Roopu Taurima o Manukau, which runs 50 care homes.
A ministry investigation found there had been 14 assaults and 17 escapes over the past two years.
It said many of the problems began in 2010, when the service began to focus on expanding the business rather than supporting clients.
Then-chief executive Pita Cherrington said the recession meant he had to focus more on keeping the business running, but patients' needs were never neglected.
He said there were cases where people struck clients and were sacked.
Mr Cherrington said some of those people had lied about their expertise and were sacked after an investigation.