Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha has issued a public apology for comments he made about the Louise Nicholas rape case in 2004.
Ms Nicholas alleged she was raped by police officers as a teenager in the 1980s which resulted in criminal trials. Three were acquitted of rape but one officer was jailed for attempting to obstruct or defeat the course of justice.
The NZ Herald earlier reported that an officer told the 2004 Operation Austin investigation into the police sex allegations that now Deputy Commissioner Haumaha had called Ms Nicholas' allegations "a nonsense" and that "nothing really happened and we have to stick together".
Today the Deputy Commissioner apologised for comments he made in 2004. His full statement is below.
"I want to acknowledge the concerns expressed by Louise Nicholas and others around my comments from 2004 regarding Operation Austin.
"It is important to say outright that I take responsibility for those comments, I deeply regret them, and I unreservedly apologise for the hurt and concern they have caused.
"That does not reflect my view or the values I bring to the job every day.
"In the 14 years since those comments, and particularly through the changes following the 2007 Commission of Inquiry, I have reflected deeply and often on what it means to live the values that New Zealanders rightly expect from their police.
"I recently met with Louise to assure her of my commitment to the work the organisation has done as a result of the Commission of Inquiry to improve our culture, and our service to victims of sexual assault.
"My previous association with those individuals does not reflect who I am now nor what the NZ Police stands for today.
"The culture of NZ Police has changed for the better in recent years as a result of the Inquiry and an ongoing commitment to our values, but there is still more work to do.
"My focus is on working tirelessly in NZ Police to build the trust and confidence of our communities."
Mr Haumaha was appointed Deputy Commissioner by Police Minister Stuart Nash last month.