Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin’s suggestion that she is automatically responsible for appointing a Chair for the inquiry into the process that led to Wally Haumaha’s appointment as Deputy Police Commissioner is false and she must step aside, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Ms Martin’s refusal to step down as head of the Haumaha inquiry on the basis that she is the Internal Affairs Minister and therefore responsible doesn’t stack up with the fact that not one other Internal Affairs Minister has led any other inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2013.

“There is no law that states the Internal Affairs Minister must be the appointing Minister for every Government inquiry. Appointing Ministers for Government inquiries are assigned by Cabinet and can be any Minister.

“A quick scan of recent inquiries reveals the Attorney-General was put in charge of the Havelock North drinking water inquiry, while under this Government the Health Minister was given responsibility for the mental health inquiry.

“There’s no reason why Attorney-General David Parker couldn’t be put in charge of the Haumaha inquiry.

“Not only has Ms Martin proved she is not equipped to handle an inquiry of such importance as the Haumaha inquiry, after bungling the appointment of Dr Pauline Kingi as Chair, but Mr Haumaha has close ties to NZ First of which Ms Martin is also a senior member.

“The public won’t be able to trust that the inquiry is truly independent if Ms Martin continues to be involved. She must step aside or Cabinet must make the decision to replace her.”

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