21 Jul 2015

Minister backs MSD investigation over slur

8:56 pm on 21 July 2015

The Social Development Minister is backing an investigation into two Work and Income employees after they got into an argument with a doorman outside a Taupō bar.

It is alleged that a male employee used racist language while another female employee was abusive to the doorman and his co-worker.

National MP, Anne Tolley.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Both have been stood down from their jobs.

The confrontation between bar staff and the pair happened at the weekend.

The doorman, Tamehana Tai-Rakena, posted a video on Facebook showing him and another staff member being verbally abused.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said Work and Income's staff did not expect to be abused and that went both ways.

"When you've got an organisation that has zero tolerance for abusive behaviour against staff, it does tend to put a lens on the behaviour of staff to other staff.

"There are many thousands of people working for Work and Income that would be dismayed to see any of their staff on national television and appearing in the media in a negative way, so it's always a problem, the actions of a few effect everyone else."

She said the actions of the pair were very disappointing.