Chris Bishop accuses Winston Peters of Wally Haumaha contact

In Parliament’s General Debate today Chris Bishop:

Today I can also reveal that Winston Peters rang Wally Haumaha after the inquiry into his appointment was announced. He gave him assurances, or words to that effect, that things would be OK. That is deeply, wildly inappropriate. Mr Peters needs to explain who invited him to the marae, why he rang Wally Haumaha to assure him that things would be OK despite an inquiry into his appointment, and why he thinks Mr Haumaha should stay in the role while he is subject to two separate investigations, with a third on the way.

CHRIS BISHOP (National—Hutt South): Thank you, Mr Speaker. Well, while the Prime Minister is offshore in New York, desperately trying to shake off the Meka Whaitiri and Clare Curran debacles, there is yet another political scandal she is finding it very difficult to shake. That is the problem of the appointment of Wally Haumaha as Deputy Commissioner of Police. Let me outline what has happened so far.

The term of the Deputy Police Commissioner Viv Rickard expired on 3 June 2018. Cabinet confirmed the vacancy on 7 May and applications closed just eight days later. The candidates were interviewed only six days later by Peter Hughes and Debbie Power of the State Services Commission (SSC) and Mike Bush, Commissioner of Police. My understanding is that Mr Haumaha was asked, in the interview process, words to the effect of “Is there anything in your past that would embarrass the Government?” And he said no. I can also reveal that Mr Haumaha was not the preferred candidate of the panel. The Cabinet paper proposing his appointment does not state that he was the preferred candidate, but he was appointed anyway by the Prime Minister. The big question is “Why?”, particularly in light of what happened next.

After Mr Haumaha’s appointment, the New Zealand Herald broke the news that an officer had told the 2004 Operation Austin investigation that Mr Haumaha had described Louise Nicholas’ allegations as a nonsense and that “Nothing really happened and we have to stick together.” An inquiry was, rightly, ordered by Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters. He must have hoped that the problem would go away. An email released to me says that the Government wanted a short and sharp inquiry. Officials originally suggested an $840,000 inquiry over three months. Cabinet wound that back to $150,000 over six weeks, with just one member.

The first attempt to start the inquiry was a disaster. Emails revealed to me that they couldn’t find anyone to do the inquiry until a few days before it was announced. Pauline Kingi was announced as the inquiry chair but was revealed to have endorsed the subject of the inquiry 23 times on LinkedIn. Finally, the Government did the right thing and appointed an independent QC to run the inquiry. Then further allegations came to light. Three women have accused Mr Haumaha of bullying while working on a joint justice, police, and corrections project in 2016. Those allegations are being considered by the Independent Police Conduct Authority as well as by the Scholtens Inquiry and, possibly, by the State Services Commission.

Here is the question: why will the Prime Minister not stand Wally Haumaha down? Meka Whaitiri was accused of wrongdoing and stood aside. Why will she not do the same for her own appointment? The answer, I believe, lies in the relationship between New Zealand First and Wally Haumaha. He was reported as being the New Zealand First candidate for Rotorua in 2005. The Deputy Leader of the New Zealand First Party, Fletcher Tabuteau, referred to Mr Haumaha as a member of his whānau in his maiden speech, in 2014. Mr Haumaha is the chairman of Mr Tabuteau’s marae at Waititi. The links go further. Close Winston Peters confidante and uncle of Fletcher Tabuteau, Tommy Gear, is also a senior leader on the marae.

Let me talk about the special function on the marae in June last year to celebrate Mr Haumaha’s promotion to Assistant Police Commissioner. Winston Peters was there. He sat next to Wally Haumaha. He told Parliament, in a personal explanation, that he attended the function because he was invited by the police and the Government of the day. He was not. Documents from the police, sent to me, make clear that he could only have been invited by the marae itself. The question is: was he invited by Wally Haumaha or by someone close to him?

Today I can also reveal that Winston Peters rang Wally Haumaha after the inquiry into his appointment was announced. He gave him assurances, or words to that effect, that things would be OK. That is deeply, wildly inappropriate. Mr Peters needs to explain who invited him to the marae, why he rang Wally Haumaha to assure him that things would be OK despite an inquiry into his appointment, and why he thinks Mr Haumaha should stay in the role while he is subject to two separate investigations, with a third on the way. Until those questions are answered, this scandal will continue to dog the Prime Minister and her Government.


UPDATE: Peters has responded (NZH):  ‘Things would be okay’ – National claim Winston Peters called Wally Haumaha about inquiry

However, Peters said he has not contacted Haumaha in relation to the inquiry.

“He hasn’t made a revelation and I’m swatting-off this midge right now,” he said in a statement.

“There is no basis to Mr Bishop’s claim that I rang Mr Haumaha after the inquiry into his appointment was announced, nor have provided any assurances on the matter.”

“I have not called nor had any reason to call Mr Haumaha since the controversy.”

Peters assured the public his office has checked all phone records since the inquiry into Haumaha was announced.

So it sounds like it’s up to Bishop to front up with evidence, or apologise.

43 Comments

    • chrism56

       /  September 26, 2018

      The way Mr Bishop carefully phrased his speech indicates that he has evidence. He wants Mr Peters to box himself into a corner and it looks like he has.Mr Peters will try to brazen it out – remember the $159k and “No”. The real prize is lasting damage to Labour as they have to keep defending Mr Peters or go to early election.
      I would say Mr Haumaha wasn’t liked in Police Headquarters so there was no shortage of people that supplied the incriminating documentation.

      • Corky

         /  September 26, 2018

        Early election looming large. Not quite there yet..we need one more major scandal.

        • robertguyton

           /  September 26, 2018

          Hold your breath, Corky – won’t be long now…

        • duperez

           /  September 26, 2018

          Have we had a ‘major’ scandal? Or just some minor episodes which had some people all orgasmic.

          • Corky

             /  September 26, 2018

            Watch and learn, Duperez…competence breeds incompetence.

          • Gezza

             /  September 26, 2018

            Yes. PM seems to have pretty clearly told porkies.
            Curran sacked from her portfolios for misleading Parliament & the public
            Meka Whaitiri stood down amid allegations of bullying which an investigation appears to have given some substance to.

            • Gezza

               /  September 26, 2018

              Teachers I think I hear have rejected the government’s latest pay offer and voted to strike.

              It’s not be a great month for the government. Not exactly what you’d call scandal free.

            • Gezza

               /  September 26, 2018

              More like free scandal.

            • Corky

               /  September 26, 2018

              I truly feel sorry for Jacinda. In the global spotlight. Fetted by the rich and powerful…then returns to NZ for gloom and doom and strikes.

    • Gezza

       /  September 26, 2018

      From the article:
      Bishop also called for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to stand Haumaha down while he is at the centre of two investigations.
      I don’t she has the authority to actually do that. Bishop’s trying to hoodwink the public.

  1. robertguyton

     /  September 26, 2018

    ” Well, while the Prime Minister is offshore in New York, desperately trying to shake off the Meka Whaitiri and Clare Curran debacles…”
    That’s patently untrue. What a way to open!
    [Evidence required for accusations like that. PG]

    • robertguyton

       /  September 26, 2018

      “Police spokesman Chris Bishop used parliamentary privilege to allege the phone call, but didn’t provide evidence .”

      • PDB

         /  September 26, 2018

        Don’t ask a question you don’t know the answer to and all that Robert…..Winston denies and then maybe he is caught in the trap.

      • Sounds like a Former Member for Tauranga’s mode of operation before the formation of his personal political vehicle aka NZ First …..doesn’t it Robert. I seem to recall a Cook Strait ferry grounding on a crossing, though there was never any evidence.

        It will be interesting to see if Mr Bishop has something up his sleeve to reveal on the evidence front, once Mr Peters has full committed to a “I didn’t do it, Guv” line of defense on this issue…

        • Blazer

           /  September 26, 2018

          Bishop would not have relied on Parliamentary privelege if his allegations were authentic.
          Bishop is trying to redeem himself.

          • Gee…. make.my.point.for.me.

            We will see how it unfolds. Having observed Bishop I suspect he has something to hang his hat on…..otherwise someone in the inside of the NZ police (most likely) is running a game for the object of Mr Bishops accusation….

            • Blazer

               /  September 26, 2018

              Bishop is a beginner at this game.
              Simons not..impressed.

            • Gezza

               /  September 26, 2018

              *think.
              Bishop might be a beginner at this game but one would expect Bridges to have enough nouse to not get him to play this hand without something up his sleeve. Question Time tomorrow should be interesting.

  2. David

     /  September 26, 2018

    Winston slinging unfounded allegations again with no evidence..oh wait, what.

  3. Corky

     /  September 26, 2018

    Wow, perception is everything. Maybe National is learning something after all. They are striking while the iron is hot.

    • Blazer

       /  September 26, 2018

      you missed off the…’y’.

    • David

       /  September 26, 2018

      National do seem to be getting the hang of opposition, Bridges is improving and in 2 years should fighting fit to start his first term as PM when National win an outright majority.

      • robertguyton

         /  September 26, 2018

        Yeah! He’s … good…???

      • Corky

         /  September 26, 2018

        I look forward to a 20 year National Reich, Dave. You can be assured after National win a fifth term in office the Left and their trolls will still be trotting out the same excuses. Maybe in desperation they will petition New Zealand to go back to first past the post voting.😃

      • Blazer

         /  September 26, 2018

        they need to get ..used to it…they wrecked NZ.

        • PDB

           /  September 26, 2018

          It’s gone from a ‘rock star economy’ under National to an ‘economy on the rocks’ under this govt.

          • Blazer

             /  September 26, 2018

            GDP up for the quarter ..highest in 2 years,.

            National wrecked the Kiwi dream and made kiwis tenants in their own country.

            Key made a killing on his Parnell property though..most lucrative single deal in his life.

            • PDB

               /  September 26, 2018

              That was GDP for period April-June was it not? Next quarter will be all theirs to crow about (or not) as up to this point they are still living on the great economy they inherited from National as traditionally at the very least the first half-year of a new govt is still heavily affected by the govt before.

              July-September will also be interesting as this govt have had a particularly bad three months.

            • Gerrit

               /  September 27, 2018

              Whoho a blazing squirrel !!

  4. duperez

     /  September 26, 2018

    How did Bishop get the details? Did someone leak them to him?

    • chrism56

       /  September 26, 2018

      Of course they did. The rapid promotion of Mr Haumaha would have upset a lot of cops. There are a lot of similarities between this case and Clint Ricard.
      Mr Bishop’s sources would have also told him where to look and what documents to ask for under the OIA. There will have been written questions to the Minister. Labour is being tied to the underlying scandal and they are trapped.

      • Blazer

         /  September 26, 2018

        the Police are apolitical..if National are anti Haumaha..they should say so.

      • Gezza

         /  September 26, 2018

        We’ll have to wait and see but I too doubt that Bishop’s made this allegation without something to back it as soon as Mr Peters denied it. The Haumaha shambles is a major pain for the government because whatever they do they’re going to raise the ire of one part of another of their consituency.

      • PDB

         /  September 26, 2018

        the Police are apolitical… hence it’s a big deal that Winston tried to get his mate the job even though according to Bishop today Haumata wasn’t even the preferred candidate. If true the PM/ Labour looks weak again as Winston would have had to get her to sign off on the deal.

        • Blazer

           /  September 27, 2018

          the Police and public servants are MEANT to be ..apolitical.
          The media is meant to be impartial too.
          People are meant to have an open mind.
          People are meant to care about the environment and those less well off…unless they are……..!

  5. NOEL

     /  September 27, 2018

    Would it be to much to ask Mr Bishop to present his claim and evidence outside of Parliament?

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