Scholtens inquiry clears Haumaha appointment process, other issues remain

Oddly after Tracey Martin seemed to be maaking the decisions over the release of the Scholtens inquiry into the appointment of Wally Haumaha, the only official statement has been made by State Services Minister Chris Hipkins.

The Inquiry into the process that led to the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner of Police has found that the process was sound, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says.

The Government asked independent reviewer Mary Scholtens QC to report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment of Wally Haumaha.

Mary Scholtens’ report was released today.

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment.

It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted.

However it did make some recommendations on how the appointment process could be improved in the future.

“I want to thank Mary Scholtens for her work and thank everyone who participated in the inquiry,” Chris Hipkins said.

The inquiry found that information that later emerged about Haumaha was not available at the time of the appointment. Some of this is being covered by an ongoing IPCA inquiry.

Media are following up on the report release.

Stacey Kirk (Stuff): Haumaha and politics of perception

On the political stage, perception is the backdrop curtain that hangs over everything.

The “nothing to see here” report on the appointment of Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha makes for interesting reading – it’s not the typical whitewash.

Inquiry head Mary Scholtens, QC, found the process to appoint Haumaha was “sound”.

Her investigation into Louise Nicholas’ concerns over Haumaha and statements he made to Operation Austin suggest he appeared to have her support – at least in the absence of outright opposition.

The public perception that’s likely to form, after an advocate of Nicholas’ standing publicly spoke out against him is probably enough to empower a number of recipients of negative actions to come forward and lay their own complaints of negative treatment, and it did.

Government coalition party NZ First, with MPs who historically had close ties to Haumaha, adds further fuel to fire of public perception.

In fairness to Haumaha, he has had, at least outwardly, an exemplary career. On paper, he should be a prime candidate for the role. The allegations for which he has had little avenue to answer to, are found to be unsubstantiated in this report – but public perceptions about him will remain.

6 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  November 13, 2018

    Is it that the Government and agencies have to run all appointments past Louise Nicholas?

    • Corky

       /  November 13, 2018

      In these PC times, Duperez, nobodies are somebodies. Best get used to it. Merit and talent are so yesterday.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  November 13, 2018

      Stuart Nash on the radio this morning said Louise Nicholas was almost single-handedly responsible for triggering the massive culture shift at the police.
      She is taken very seriously for that reason.
      However, it seems the report was un-necessary and was pushed by media beat up as much as anything. Either there was conflict of interest or not and they should have been able to determine that without a QC.
      The IPCA report may change things.

  2. duperez

     /  November 13, 2018

    Chris Bishop said on RNZ that with comments Haumaha made in 2004 being made public and with him being in the (new) position that “people would feel that the Police is not a safe place where they can make complaints especially about sexual assaults and sexual violence.”

    Is that true?

    • High Flying Duck

       /  November 13, 2018

      The only thing that will affect the Haumaha appointment now are if the recent bullying accusations are found to be substantive and upheld.
      What he said in 2004 is consigned to the dustbin of history and will affect precisely no-one. Over-egging by Bish on that one.

  3. Stuart Nash told Mike Hosking the report was crucial because the public needs to trust the process used to appoint high-level police officers.

    “This is a very important position in the state sector. This is sort of the number two police officer and we have got make sure we get it right and in terms of earning the public trust and confidence in police the public need to be sure.”

    He said the concerns raised by Louise Nicholas also needed to be investigated.

    “She’s a very well-respected advocate [and] you could argue, that in fact, Louise Nicholas coming forward in very trying circumstances was the single most important catalyst for culture change in the Police. Now that’s a big call but she’s played a very important part in changing the culture.”