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Bullying, gender discrimination at Government venture capital fund

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Bullying, gender discrimination at Government venture capital fund

Some workers resigned due to the workplace culture at NZ Growth Capital Partners. (File photo).

Tim Gouw/Unsplash

Some workers resigned due to the workplace culture at NZ Growth Capital Partners. (File photo).

A review into a Government venture capital fund which invests hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money found instances of low-level bullying, perceptions of an underlying culture of gender discrimination, and of disrespectful and inappropriate workplace culture.

The summary of the review by former Employment Court Judge Graeme Colgan into New Zealand Growth Capital Partners was released on Thursday.

NZ Growth Capital Partners invests in early-stage high-growth tech companies, and replaced the New Zealand Venture Investment fund which the Government set up in 2002. It manages the Aspire NZ Seed Fund and the $300 million Elevate NZ Venture Fund, and its performance is overseen and monitored by the Guardians of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.

“In his review, Mr Colgan did find that there were some past instances of low-level bullying, and he also found that there were some perceptions of an underlying culture of gender discrimination and of disrespectful and inappropriate workplace conduct,” NZ Growth Capital Partners said in a statement.

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“While some employees resigned from their positions due to the working place environment, this was not universal of the workplace culture at NZGCP. The review found no instances of harassment.”

The venture capital fund said it wouldn’t release the full report, which was completed on March 12.

Colgan identified a need for governance and management improvements over staff appointments and departures, gender and ethnic equity practices, workplace behaviour, and staff complaints, the statement said.

The board of the venture capital fund said it is making significant progress on the recommendations and expects to finish implementing them by the end of its financial year of June 30.

Company office records show the entire board was replaced in December last year, and the fund appointed James Fletcher as interim chief executive for six months in January while it searched for a permanent replacement.

At the time, the fund said the new board was building its understanding of the business and overseeing changes to strengthen its strategy, culture, systems and processes.

Published at Wed, 31 Mar 2021 17:02:00 +0000

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