Kingi's appointment defended in top cop inquiry

Wally Haumaha
Wally Haumaha

National wants the head of an inquiry into Wally Haumaha's appointment as deputy police commissioner to step down or be sacked.

Pauline Kingi has endorsed 23 of Mr Haumaha's skills on the professional networking platform LinkedIn, including law enforcement, crime prevention and leadership development.

National police spokesman Chris Bishop said that constituted a conflict of interest and she must go.

"She simply has no credibility to chair the inquiry.

"It's a blatant conflict of interest. She must stand down or Tracey Martin must sack her,'' he said.

Ms Martin, who is the minister overseeing the inquiry, said Dr Kingi signed a form declaring there was no conflict of interest.

She said she had also made known the two occasions where she met or was in the same vicinity as Mr Haumaha.

"Dr Kingi has declared that she knew Mr Haumaha in a professional capacity when she was a highly respected public servant.

"She has also declared that she attended a tangi either in 2015 or 2016,'' Ms Martin told Parliament.

Ms Martin said she was frustrated National had sunk to this level.

"A LinkedIn profile, a networking digital platform, that somehow is supposed to be the judge of a person's character? Have you seen this lady's CV?'' she asked.

Ms Martin said the suggestion that liking somebody on Facebook or endorsing them on LinkedIn made somebody unqualified was frustrating.

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters described LinkedIn as a career-enhancing utility. Everyone endorsed everyone else, and the only person who had not been endorsed was himself, because he did not have a profile.

Mr Peters said he had complete confidence in Dr Kingi and the process.

"It's not like writing a fully-fledged reference, and sending it off with a signature on it.

"It's social media after all and you know how skitterish that can be.''

Ms Martin and Mr Peters both made the point the inquiry was into the process of the appointment, not the person.

Dr Kingi has been asked to begin her inquiry on August 6, and report within six weeks.

The inquiry has been established to find out why Mr Haumaha's past comments regarding a sexual assault case either were not discovered or were not disclosed to the minister by the State Services Commission, during his appointment process.

But Mr Bishop did not believe there was a differentiation to be made.

"He is at the centrepiece of that inquiry.

"She has a relationship with the centrepiece of the inquiry.

"I just don't think it's credible that she stays on in the role.'' 



If Dr Kingi barely knew Mr Haumaha, how could she reasonably endorse his qualifications and or abilities? Endorsing someone you don't know well would be very sloppy behaviour.
If she does know him well enough to endorse him then she shouldn't be chairing the inquiry into his behaviour and appointment.

Either way, for once the Nationals seem to have a valid point. And if Ms Martin finds being a minister and making proper decisions frustrating then maybe she needs to consider a career change.

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