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Appointment process for Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha found to be 'adequate and fit for purpose' - report

 

The appointment process for Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha has been found to be “adequate and fit for purpose”.

The report goes through the appointment process of Mr Haumaha to Deputy Police Commissioner, after victim advocate Louise Nicholas criticised the appointment.

Mr Haumaha was reported to have called Ms Nicholas' rape allegations "a nonsense" in 2004.

Mary Scholtens QC found the processes in appointing Mr Haumaha to Deputy Police Commissioner “was adequate and fit for purpose”.

Sexual assault victim advocate Louise Nicholas says more historic sex abuse survivors are coming forward now.
Louise Nicholas. Source: 1 NEWS

The report found the State Services Commission (SSC) considered a range of factors such as Mr Haumaha’s track record in police, his Queen’s Service Medal and his top security clearance while making the selection.

Ms Scholtens said what was not identified in the process “were essentially ‘perception risks’ rather than facts relevant to the appointment process”.

She recommended the SSC:

- Take care to be explicit when seeking information from candidates.

- Ensure there are a significant and a diverse number of referees.

- Seek people outside of referees for anonymous, confidential views.

Ms Scholtens also recommended that if there was a further review of internal best practise to improve the appointment process, that a focus of this be “identifying and managing the risks around unexpected publicity”.

“Throughout the process SSC and the panel are gauging risk… I have considered whether the appointment panel in this case had all the available information that was relevant to the assessment of risk and if not, whether this was a process failure. My findings are that it did have all the information that was reasonably available.”

The report also looks into the comments he was said to have made about Ms Nicholas’ rape case. Ms Scholtens wrote that Mr Haumaha "has no recollection of any conversation”, and “DC Haumaha does not believe he would have used the word ‘nonsense’”, he was also "adamant he would not have spoken of ‘sticking together’”.  

Mr Haumaha made a statement after the report was released saying he had gained personal insights from the process. 

"I want to thank all those who have assisted the Inquiry.  It has not been easy for anyone, as I know from my own weeks and months waiting for the outcome."

National's police spokesperson Chris Bishop said "serious questions" remained, including whether it is appropriate that Mr Haumaha continued as deputy police commissioner. 

State Service Minister Chris Hipkins said it was a “comprehensive” report which could give the New Zealand public a lot of confidence.

He said it found “no substantiated concerns, whether criminal, disciplinary, reputation or otherwise” relevant to Mr Haumaha’s appointment.

“The findings of this inquiry are of utmost importance to ensuring the appointment processes are not undermined because of subsequent unanticipated and inaccurate publicity.”

He said the report stepped through difficult issues, and it made “minor, but pragmatic” suggestions about how the SSC could continue to refine the appointment process.
 

Background: 

May: Then Assistant Commissioner Wally Haumaha was appointed Deputy Police Commissioner, replacing Viv Rickard. 

June: Mr Haumaha issued an apology for comments he made about the Louise Nicholas rape case in 2004, after NZ Herald reported Mr Haumaha called Ms Nicholas' allegations "a nonsense" and that "nothing really happened".

Shortly afterwards, the Government announced an inquiry would be held into the process that led to his appointment.

July 2: It was revealed NZ First MP Tracey Martin was the MP responsible for the inquiry as Minister of Internal Affairs. Deputy PM Winston Peters says it wouldn't be appropriate for police or the State Services Commissioner to be involved.

Mr Peters was asked if there was a conflict of interest with the Deputy Police Commissioner, as he applied to seek selection to stand for New Zealand First in 2005. Mr Peters said there was not. 

July 23: Dr Pauline Kingi was appointed to head the inquiry. Dr Kingi is Harvard University educated, served as a barrister in 1980 and is a former Chancellor of AUT.

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    Mr Peters said Dr Pauline Kingi’s endorsements of Mr Haumaha had been "thoroughly investigated". Source: Parliament TV

    July 31: National Party criticise the appointment of Dr Kingi after she was believed to have endorsed him on the employment site LinkedIn, 15 years ago. 

    August 1: Dr Pauline Kingi stands down as head of the independent inquiry. 

    August 9: NZ Herald reported alleged bullying incidents in 2015

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      The PM says she has already expressed her frustration at the situation over Wally Haumaha’s appointment Source: 1 NEWS

      August 14: It was reported that Mr Haumaha contacted a witness to an alleged bullying incident after it became apparent the incident was being investigated by the media.

      September 6: Two formal complaints were received by police over alleged bullying by the force's Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha. 

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        Stuart Nash said it has "nothing to do with me at this point". Source: 1 NEWS

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          The inquiry was launched after it emerged Mr Haumaha reportedly showed support for officers accused of assaulting Louise Nicholas. Source: 1 NEWS