Dr Pauline Kingi has done the right thing in stepping down as Chair of the inquiry into Wally Haumaha’s appointment as Deputy Police Commissioner but the Government must explain how she was appointed in the first place, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Dr Kingi is a well-respected public servant and her integrity is not the issue. It’s the appointment of Dr Kingi as Chair of this inquiry that has been called into question, given her public endorsements of Mr Haumaha.
“It was clear when these LinkedIn endorsements were revealed that Dr Kingi would not be able to lead a truly independent inquiry into Mr Haumaha’s appointment.
“Dr Kingi appears to have recognised this and has done the right thing by stepping down. But the Government should never have put her in this position in the first instance and must now explain how this happened.
“If it had done its due diligence properly, it would have been clear that Dr Kingi had an unequivocal conflict of interest and was not the right person to lead this particular inquiry.
“The Government must now go back to the drawing board and appoint a truly independent person to chair the inquiry.
“Let’s not forget what this inquiry is looking into – Mr Haumaha made highly questionable statements about serious allegations made against his friends in the Police, which were apparently not known to Ministers before they signed off on his appointment.
“The public must have confidence in the Government’s appointment process for such senior positions in the New Zealand Police.
“But what this mess shows is that this Government cannot organise itself, which doesn’t instil much confidence in its ability to run the country.”
Dr Pauline Kingi must be immediately stood down as Chair of the inquiry into the appointment of Wally Haumaha as Deputy Police Commissioner following revelations she has endorsed him on LinkedIn 23 times, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Dr Kingi has publicly endorsed Mr Haumaha on LinkedIn for 23 skills, including leadership, crime prevention and stakeholder management.
“In fact, she has endorsed him for every skill Mr Haumaha has listed – in some cases she is the only person to have endorsed him for a particular skill.
“Dr Kingi cannot possibly lead an independent inquiry into Mr Haumaha’s appointment.
"There is a clear and unequivocal conflict of interest, and the Government should never have appointed Dr Kingi in the first instance.
“If the Government is truly committed to an independent inquiry, it must stand Dr Kingi down immediately and appoint a new Chair.
“The Government must then look into the process that led to the appointment of Dr Kingi as Chair of the inquiry, which is deeply ironic given the inquiry is looking into the process that led to the appointment of Mr Haumaha as Deputy Police Commissioner.
“It took three weeks for the Government to announce Dr Kingi as the Chair of the inquiry – what were they doing?
“Clearly something is not right in the way this Government does its due diligence and that needs to be urgently addressed.
“This inquiry has been a shambles from the start and nothing about it suggests it will be independent and comprehensive. The Government has some serious explaining to do.”
National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says Wellington Police are being overzealous and heavy-handed in objecting to the liquor licence renewals of bowling clubs in the region.
“New Zealanders should be able to enjoy a beer or two with friends at their local bowling club, and for years they have without incident.
“It’s concerning that this could soon become a thing of the past, with several bowling clubs across Wellington now in a battle with Police to renew their liquor licences.
“Police do have a tough job dealing with alcohol-related crime, but targeting bowling clubs and other sports clubs is not the way to tackle the issue.
“I understand that internal police research shows that these licenced clubs have accounted for almost zero alcohol-related issues in the last five years.
“It seems that Police are being overzealous in its interpretation of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act and should take a more common-sense approach.
“Instead of a blanket ban on liquor licences, Police would be better to target individual clubs that have had a history of alcohol-related incidents.
“Clubs like the Whitby Bowling Club, which has not had a single liquor licence issue in 40 years, should not be punished. The coalition agreement to ‘commit to a serious focus on combatting organised crime’ surely couldn’t have meant the Whitby Bowling Club.
“It is ridiculous that places like the Island Bay Tennis and Squash Club and the Wellington Bridge Club are also having to fight the Police on this.
“Police are highly respected in our communities but they should rethink their approach to liquor licences and allow responsible sports clubs to continue serving alcohol.”
The terms of reference of the inquiry into the appointment of Wally Haumaha as Deputy Police Commissioner do not go far enough and as a result the inquiry is likely to be a $150,000 waste of time, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“The inquiry was announced by Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters over three weeks ago following revelations that Mr Haumaha had made highly disappointing comments about serious allegations made against his friends in the New Zealand Police.
“Twenty-four days after the inquiry was announced we finally have a Chair and terms of reference, but the inquiry won’t come close to getting to the nub of the issue.
“The inquiry avoids the two central issues in this whole debacle – what did Police Commissioner Mike Bush know about Mr Haumaha’s comments? And secondly, what were Police Minister Stuart Nash and Cabinet told?
“Instead the inquiry focuses on the State Services Commission.
“Hanging over the inquiry is the issue of whether Mr Nash and Cabinet would have made a different appointment had they known about Mr Haumaha’s comments. That too is ignored.
“The inquiry also avoids looking into the potential conflicts of interest of Mr Haumaha’s appointment under a Labour-NZ First Government, given he was once selected as a candidate for NZ First to run in the 2005 General Election.
“The appointment of Tracey Martin, a NZ First Minister and party insider, as minister in charge of the inquiry is still wholly inappropriate. If Mr Peters wanted to prove that there was no conflict, surely this inquiry would be his opportunity to put the issue to rest.
“The inquiry will take six weeks at an estimated cost of $150,000, yet it appears New Zealanders won’t be any closer to having answers by the end of it.”
Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters is either genuinely confused or he has deliberately made false statements to media today that the mental health crisis call response pilot had come to its end, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Mr Peters needs to get his facts straight – not only has the pilot not come to an end, it hasn’t even had the chance to get off the ground thanks to his Government.
“The $8 million pilot was announced last year as part of the National Government’s $100 million mental health package and was due to start this September.
“Designed by experts, it would see mental health nurses attending mental health incidents alongside police and paramedics and was universally supported – except by the Labour-NZ First Government which has chosen to scrap it.
“Either Mr Peters hasn’t bothered to get up to speed, or he’s deliberately made the false claim that the pilot has ended because he knows the public, police, paramedics, and mental health experts all want the pilot to go ahead and are angry the Government has axed it.
“For a Government that claims to take mental health seriously, it’s got a funny way of showing it. First it axes potentially game-changing initiatives, then misleads New Zealanders about it.
“Perhaps the most troubling thing about this is that this is by no means the first time Mr Peters has made a false claim to media and the public. Just a few weeks ago, he claimed there was more than one prison forecast report to cover up for Kelvin Davis’ incompetence.
“New Zealanders expect better from their Acting Prime Minister, and from a Government that claims it will be the most transparent, open government ever – sadly that too is looking like a false claim.”
The Government’s decision to axe a universally-supported pilot to improve the response to 111 mental health calls is nothing short of disgraceful, especially after Labour pledged to make mental health a priority, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“It has been revealed that Labour has scrapped a pilot in which a mental health nurse would attend mental health incidents alongside police and paramedics to ensure that people in distress receive timely responses that are tailored to their needs.
“Police spend around 280 hours a day responding to mental health calls. They do a good job, but are not mental health professionals so having a mental health nurse deployed to incidents with police would make a real difference.
“The increasing demand on police to respond to mental health crises is set to continue. That’s why the National Government set aside $8 million for the pilot as part of our $100 million mental health package.
“Police Minister Stuart Nash confirmed in answers to written questions the day of the Police Estimates hearing that the pilot would be canned, yet Police Commissioner Mike Bush told the hearing that police were very hopeful it would continue – in front of Mr Nash.
“Mr Nash has admitted that police are dealing with more and more mental health cases. The pilot would have eased pressure on police and improved the quality of the response for those experiencing mental distress.
“It beggars belief that this Government would axe the potentially game-changing pilot which had universal support from those on the frontline dealing with mental health, including mental health expert Nigel Fairley who said in February that the pilot was top of his spending list.
“The Government is again wilfully disregarding the expert advice and belittling calls from police and mental health experts to improve first responder processes.
“People need more help now. The Government must listen to the experts and reinstate funding for this pilot immediately.”
The Government must release the terms of reference of the inquiry into the appointment of Wally Haumaha as Deputy Police Commissioner given it’s now two weeks since the Acting Prime Minister announced the inquiry, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Following concerns raised by Louise Nicholas regarding the appropriateness of Mr Haumaha’s promotion, Winston Peters announced on June 29 that there would be an inquiry into the appointment.
“That appeared to be the right thing to do, given Mr Haumaha’s highly disappointing comments regarding serious allegations made against his friends in the Police which Police Minister Stuart Nash claimed to have no knowledge of prior to Mr Haumaha’s appointment.
“The Government has a duty to get to the bottom of why Mr Nash and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern weren’t told of these comments, especially in light of the fact Ms Nicholas previously raised concerns about Mr Haumaha’s appointment as Assistant Commissioner.
“As it’s since been revealed that Mr Haumaha was selected as a candidate for NZ First in the 2005 General Election, the inquiry must also look into potential issues of probity and conflicts of interest given Mr Haumaha was promoted under a Labour-NZ First Government.
“But it’s been two weeks since the inquiry was announced and we’re still yet to hear anything about the terms of reference or who will chair the inquiry.
“The process around this inquiry has been a debacle from the start, with the inappropriate appointment of NZ First MP and party insider Tracey Martin as the minister in charge of the inquiry.
“The public deserves answers and the Government needs to get on with the inquiry, make the terms of reference public and tell us who exactly will be conducting it.”
Hutt South MP Chris Bishop has presented a petition to Parliament today in support of his Member’s Bill to allow restaurants that hold on-licences to sell alcohol, to also hold off-licences under the same roof.
Mr Bishop, who was accompanied by Antonio Cacace, owner of top Italian restaurant La Bella Italia in Petone and former owner of Bel Mondo International food market, says around 3,000 people have signed the petition.
“The Sale and Supply of Liquor Act currently prohibits ‘shops within shops’, which means that restaurants that are also speciality food stores have great difficulty in selling alcohol through an off-licence under the same roof and at the same time,” he says.
“Bel Mondo closed recently after licencing authorities asked Antonio to erect a wall separating the dining area from the food store and operate two separate companies in order to sell wine to take away.
“At La Bella Italia in Petone, customers who wish to purchase a bottle of wine after trying it in the restaurant are required to buy the wine online on an iPad in the corner of the store and pick it up from a separate entrance out the back.
“There are other examples I know of around the country. These ridiculous situations can be fixed by my proposed simple amendment to the Sale of Supply of Liquor Act.
“The fact that 3,000 people have signed a petition located only in one restaurant (La Bella) indicates the strong public support for such a move. I hope this common-sense amendment will receive broad support across the Parliament.”
The petition will now be considered by the Justice Committee.
Serious questions of probity regarding the appointment of Wally Haumaha as Deputy Police Commissioner must be answered by Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“This appointment is being called into question, not only because of Mr Haumaha’s highly disappointing comments about serious allegations made against fellow police officers which the Police Minister says he wasn’t aware of, but also because of his close ties to the Acting Prime Minister and NZ First.
“It was today confirmed Mr Haumaha was selected to run as a candidate for NZ First in the 2005 General Election.
“Given both of these issues it’s clear that there are potential issues of probity and conflicts of interest regarding his promotion under a Labour-NZ First Government.
“Mr Peters must explain whether he disclosed this conflict at Cabinet given Mr Haumaha was once a candidate of his party, and how this conflict was managed during the appointment process.
“He must also explain his completely inappropriate appointment of NZ First MP, and former party official, Tracey Martin as the minister in charge of the inquiry.
“Mr Peters needs to explain how the public can now have confidence that the inquiry will be independent, robust and transparent.
“These questions, and the questions put to Police Minister Stuart Nash last week, must be addressed by the Government if the public is to have any trust in its processes and to ensure the hard-earned reputation of our police force isn’t tarnished.”
Police Minister Stuart Nash has some explaining to do about his appointment of Wally Haumaha as Deputy Police Commissioner, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Mr Haumaha has made some highly disappointing comments about very serious allegations made against his friends in the New Zealand Police.
“Mr Nash must answer the following questions:
- Did he know about these comments? If he did, why did he make the decision to appoint Mr Haumaha to such a senior role?
- If he didn’t know, then why not? Did no one tell him, and if so, why not?
- Knowing what we all know now, would he have still made the appointment?
- What did the State Services Commission panel know?
- What effect will this appointment will have on Police culture and the public’s trust in our Police?
“Police have worked hard for years to regain the public’s trust and confidence, and Mr Nash needs to explain how the appointment of Mr Haumaha as the new Deputy Commissioner will not set them back.”