Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell’s contract will not be renewed, Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi has confirmed.

Maxwell’s term will end in June. She will have completed two terms in the role.

“Two terms is a significant commitment and after two terms it is appropriate to go to the market to re-appoint for the next term. This was shared to the Commissioner two weeks ago,” Faafoi said. 

An announcement is expected later today, the same day Newsroom revealed allegations that much of a high staff turnover at the Commission was a product of the culture of bullying and intimidation there. 

A past employee said the decision not to reappoint Maxwell was a “victory for the taxpayer and for the Commission for Financial Capability”. 

“It can hopefully return to its former glory. I’d absolutely consider going back there under new leadership,” they said.

Another said they believed it was “long overdue”. 

“It’s comforting to know that this behaviour will not be tolerated and no one else at the Commission will be subject to the bullying so many of us endured,” they said. 

Five years of turnover

Maxwell was appointed Commissioner in 2013 by then-Commerce Minister Craig Foss. She had come from a communications background at the BNZ and worked at the Financial Markets Authority and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Her tenure at the Commission was marked by high staff turnover. Newsroom revealed today allegations that much of that turnover was a product of bullying and intimidation at the Commission.

In spite of the high turnover, Maxwell’s three-year term was renewed in 2016. Then-Commerce Minister Paul Goldsmith told Newsroom he was aware of the high staff turnover, but believed it to be a product of the reforms Maxwell was making at the Commission, rather than bullying.

He was not aware of any allegations of bullying. 

The previous Commissioner, Diana Crossan, served a term of 10 years, being appointed in February 2003 and stepping down in January 2013. 

Maxwell could have been reappointed by current Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi. 

Faafoi had recently been made aware of allegations of bullying and asked for further information and advice on them. 

Read more: Diane Maxwell – is she a bully?

Melanie Reid is Newsroom's lead investigations editor.

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