Wally Haumaha inquiry head announced, six-week probe to start August 20

Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin has announced Mary Scholtens QC will lead a Government inquiry into the appointment process of Deputy Commissioner of Police Wally Haumaha, saying the inquiry will start the week after next and has a six-week timeframe.

Mr Haumaha's appointment has been under fire in light of comments he made defending police officers accused of rape in 2004. 

There've also been accusations of bullying behaviour on a project Mr Haumaha was involved with. 

Ms Martin announced this evening that the inquiry will start on August 20 and Ms Scholtens will be the single member involved.

The inquiry's purpose is to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment of Mr Haumaha.

Ms Martin said Mary Scholtens is a respected QC who has worked in public and administrative law for 36 years. 

She was Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office for 10 years and previously worked as a solicitor privately and in several government departments. 

Since 1996 she has practiced public law from the independent bar, and in 2002 was made Queen's Counsel.  

She has been involved in or carried out many inquiries including acting as Counsel Assisting the 2004 Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct. 

In 2003 she carried out a review of the operation of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 for the Minister of State Services.

Ms Martin said that at the conclusion of the inquiry, and in the event the inquiry finds deficiencies in the appointment process, the Prime Minister will seek advice from the Solicitor General or the State Services Commissioner on the appropriate next steps.  

Wally Haumaha. Source: rnz.co.nz


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Should drug testing of beneficiaries be stopped after 'so few' fail?

This week on Inside Parliament, the 1 NEWS team discuss the interesting findings into beneficiary drug use.

Reporter Benedict Collins questioned the large amount of resources that go into testing people on the unemployment benefit, when "so few fail". 

Figures show that 47,115 beneficiaries were referred to jobs that required drug testing in the year to June and 170 of those failed the tests.

The fail statistic includes people who did not turn up to be tested.  

Watch the full episode of Inside Parliament:

A weekly podcast with 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch and political reporters Benedict Collins & Maiki Sherman. Source: 1 NEWS

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Reporter Benedict Collins said the amount of resources going into drug testing people on the unemployment benefit was “pretty extraordinary”. Source: 1 NEWS

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Lumsden Birthing Centre in Southland to close despite community outcry - 'Could put babies and mothers at greater risk'

The Lumsden Maternity Centre, in Southland, will close despite strong opposition from the local community.

The Southern District Health Board has announced that the birthing unit will become a maternal and child hub, where babies are only delivered in an emergency.

Earlier this year, a protest march was held down Lumsden's main street and a 4000 signature petition was presented in opposition to the proposed closure.

The Southern District Health Board has today released its final plan for an Integrated Primary Maternity System of Care, which it said had a strong emphasis on the midwifery workforce.

The plan includes establishing maternal and child hubs in five locations - Wanaka, Te Anau, Tuatapere, Ranfurly, and Lumsden.

The DHB said the plan also included funding support for midwives working in remote rural locations, to recognise the additional duties they perform, and investment in technology to support access to specialist care and reduce the need to travel.

The Clutha-Southland MP, National's Hamish Walker, said the move decision puts mothers and babies at risk.

"What we know is that delays in getting to maternity care compromises outcomes and could put babies and mothers at greater risk. This is a risk that the government is forcing on Clutha-Southland mothers by cutting services in Lumsden."

He said when the centre closes mothers may have to travel up to 130 kilometres to give birth.

Mr Walker said the population in the area was increasing, especially with a new 1000 home housing development planned for nearby Kingston.

He said he and National's health spokesperson, Michael Woodhouse, would meet with directors of the maternity centre on Monday to support the push for full maternity services to continue.

The announcement means the Lumsden facility will provide pre and post-natal care, but won’t be a birthing centre. Source: 1 NEWS