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Lion Man's sister's personal grievance claim fails

AMY MAAS
Last updated 09:10 03/04/2013
MEGAN BUSCH: Hired by the receivers in September 2011, two months after the Zion Wildlife Gardens went into receivership.
DEANNA HARRIS/Whangarei Leader
MEGAN BUSCH: Hired by the receivers in September 2011, two months after the Zion Wildlife Gardens went into receivership.

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The sister of former Zion Wildlife Gardens owner Craig "The Lion Man" Busch has failed in a bid to lay a personal grievance against the park's receivers for being laid off, claiming she was too traumatised by being fired to do so within the required time frame.

Megan Busch said the receivers "breached their duty to provide her with a safe and healthy working environment", according to a just-released Employment Relations Authority decision.

Busch laid a grievance claim with the authority in April last year, just outside the statutory 90-day time limit, on the grounds that she had suffered depression, shock and a nervous breakdown when she was blocked from entering the park after being made redundant.

The authority only accepts grievances laid outside the statutory 90-day time frame under exceptional circumstances.

Busch was hired by the receivers in September 2011, two months after the Zion Wildlife Gardens went into receivership.

She received a letter on January 31, 2012, terminating her employment.

On the same day, she went to Zion but her access was blocked by police and a number of other men, authority member Eleanor Robinson said in her ruling.

When Busch refused to leave the premises, she was arrested for trespassing and claimed she had been manhandled by police.

She claimed in media reports that she had been trying to remove "two $30,000 horses and other items" from the premises.

A report by psychologist Carolyn Mills that was provided to the authority backed Busch's claim of being traumatised, saying she "cannot remember things and cannot focus on the road when she is driving or doing anything that requires concentration".

In its decision, the authority said the evidence presented did not support Busch's claim she was traumatised as her actions in those 90 days showed she was able to "process information and make rational decisions".

Busch had taken part in an interview with Campbell Live on February 14, 2012, about an incident at the park.

She also gave an interview to a newspaper two months later.

"I do not consider that an applicant who is able to interface successfully with the media as Ms Busch has been shown to have done on two separate occasions some 60 days apart would have been unable to properly consider raising a personal grievance in the same period of time or indeed within the 90 day period," Robinson said.

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