Pauline Kingi to chair Police appointment inquiry

Winston Peters has tasked Pauline Kingi with inquiring into the appointment of the Deputy Police Commissioner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

Maori community leader and lawyer Pauline Kingi is to lead the inquiry into the appointment of Deputy Commissioner of Police Wally Haumaha .

The inquiry was launched after complaints about the appointment of Haumaha. The complaints mainly focused on his relationship with former police officers accused of raping Bay of Plenty women, including Louise Nicholas who now works with police as an advisor and mentor.

The inquiry will not focus on Haumaha’s suitability for the role, but will instead consider the process of the appointment.

Prime Minister Winston Peters told a media conference that the issue of Haumaha’s suitability for the role could be considered, but only after the inquiry reported back.

Nicholas’ allegations that she was raped by police officers as a teenager in Murupara led to the convening of Operation Austin in 2004, which investigated police sexual offending in the Bay of Plenty in the 1980s. Two of the men accused by Nicholas - Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum - were later convicted and jailed for the rape of a Mount Maunganui woman.

Nicholas has said statements from officers in the Operation Austin investigation file make it clear that Haumaha tried to block the investigation against the men, who were his friends, and was dismissive of the allegations.

The inquiry will begin on August 6 and Kingi will report back within six weeks.