Arise Church Breaches Employment Standards
The whole Arise board has been "stood down" by the Labour Inspectorate.
Note: I haven’t sent this out as an email newsletter (there are only so many newsletters about Arise one can take ) but I did want to report this, and keep a record of it online. As always: Thanks for your support of Webworm, be it a membership, or your eyeballs.
Webworm can report that the Arise board and leadership has all been “stood down” for six months by the Labour Inspectorate, because they have breached employment standards.
This includes senior pastor Ben Kendrew, along with board members John Robertson, Joseph Bundy-Cooke, Alistair Papali’i-Curtin, Anna Pasikale, Alice Camaivuna and Kylie Fletcher.
This comes following a series of damning reports about Arise last year, which led to over 500 current and former church members submitting to the Pathfinding report.
That reports (eventual) release painted an incredibly bleak picture of a church that had completely gone off the rails — its founder John Cameron resigning and fleeing to Australia (no doubt hoping no-one Googles his name so he can continue his bullshit there).
I reached out to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for comment on the stand downs, and they provided Webworm with this statement:
“The Labour Inspectorate has issued an Infringement Notice to Arise Church and its leadership.
An Infringement Notice states the employment law breach, the date and location of the offence as well as the fee amount. This is a response to the employer’s failure in complying with minimum employment standards.
All employers are required to comply with minimum employment standards and employers who breach employment standards are restricted from recruiting migrant workers.
At this stage, we cannot go into any further details as our comments may prejudice the outcome of our investigations. Generally, we comment once investigations are completed.”
-Shaurya Malaviya, Regional Manager Wellington, Employment Service.
According to Employment New Zealand, “Employers who have breached employment standards face a set stand-down period from the ability to support visa applications for migrant workers.”
I imagine at least one of the hundreds who came forward with stories of mistreatment by Arise have decided to take things further.
Webworm has reached out to the Arise Board for comment and will update this story if they ever reply to me (they tend not to).
Webworm will also seek further comment from MBIE when their investigations are complete.
Update: February 25th, 2023.
Arise Church has a NEWS section on their website. This mostly features press releases that have come as a result of Webworm’s reporting. Throughout 2022 and into this year, it’s become almost comical. The patterns goes like this:
Webworm will email the Arise Board with a series of allegations or questions.
The Arise Board ignores said email.
A piece pops up on their NEWS site relating to my questions or whatever story I’ve written (I am never notified about this by Arise… it just appears).
I’m hesitant to call these “press releases” as they are not distributed to the press.
From what I can tell they are not emailed to newsrooms or reporters (including me). They just sit in the NEWS section, I assume for the hapless saps that go to Arise Church. This is the version of their story that they want their congregation to see. The pieces are masterclasses in gaslighting, misdirection and ring-fencing.
Anyway — this recent article triggered the usual pattern.
Here is my email that went answered the day before I published this piece:
It went unanswered.
Then, following my article being published, this appeared on their news site: MBIE Update.
As always, the reason for it existing never mentions the evil word “Webworm”:
This is a short statement to inform you regarding some information circulating online today.
They go on:
The Board were issued with an infringement notice by a Labour Inspector from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in January 2023 relating to a request to supply information of specific employee records, this notice means Trustees have temporarily been stood down from their ability to recruit migrant workers.
The Board has now been able to provide the requested information which relates to pay, leave and holidays that were recorded correctly for the sample of employees that was requested. The Board has requested the removal of the infringement notice accordingly and have been informed by the Labour Inspector that the infringement notice was subsequently under review.
To reiterate, Arise Church has provided the requested information to MBIE. We have cooperated with the Labour Inspector throughout this journey. Any suggestion that the Board or leadership has been stood down from governance or leadership is incorrect, Board members are temporarily unable to recruit migrant workers whilst the notice is being reviewed. We are disappointed that this information has circulated whilst they are still working through their process.
Whilst the current Board and leadership are continuing to work through the necessary changes highlighted in last year’s reviews, we are confident that this matter with MBIE will be resolved promptly.
The bit in bold (my highlight) is classic Arise: “We are disappointed that this information has circulated whilst they are still working through their process.”
Here they are pretending to be transparent — but they never wanted it called out. Transparency is telling people about this back in January. Who? Their congregation. Their community. And, hell, Webworm.
This church is so utterly cooked.
I sent this reply back to Arise. It’s gone unanswered:
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There is deep satisfaction in watching justice being delivered to a group of people who appear convinced that no harm was or is being caused. Witness the crumbling empire. Thank you, David 🙏🏻
Brent Cameron = hand farter
Not especially relevant here but I am doing my best to raise awareness.