Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern still has serious questions to answer regarding her appointment of Deputy Commissioner of Police Wally Haumaha after Mary Scholtens QC’s report was released today, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“This report was only ever into the process behind the appointment of Mr Haumaha, as Ministers themselves have stressed at various points. The real question is whether it is appropriate Mr Haumaha continues to be the Deputy Commissioner. Police Minister Stuart Nash has already said comments made by Mr Haumaha were ‘deeply disappointing’.
“The fact that both Police Minister Nash and the Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins refused to express confidence in Mr Haumaha today should speak volumes.
“The report makes it clear that Police Commissioner Mike Bush was aware of comments made by Wally Haumaha about Operation Austin and that Louise Nicholas had raised concerns. Two members of the appointment panel, State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes and Debbie Power, both thought Commissioner Bush should have raised Louise Nicholas’ concerns with the panel.
“Over the past ten years the New Zealand Police have made huge strides to repair their reputation in light of Operation Austin, and the Prime Minister needs to answer whether she thinks the appointment of Wally Haumaha will keep that progress going. Frontline and also senior police officers have expressed concern to me that public confidence in the police will be eroded by the appointment.
“Today’s report does also not deal fully with the bullying allegations levelled by three women against Mr Haumaha. Clearly the women thought his actions were so serious that they escalated them to the highest levels at the Ministry of Justice. The Independent Police Conduct Authority are yet to report back on this.
“Finally, the report reveals that before the appointment was made, Police Minister Stuart Nash was informed that Wally Haumaha was a New Zealand First candidate in 2005. It seems he did not disclose that to his Cabinet colleagues. This is a serious conflict of interest that does not appear to have been dealt with and deserves further investigation.
“The Prime Minister needs to be upfront with New Zealanders about whether she thinks Wally Haumaha is right for the role. Today’s report doesn’t answer that question.”