Findings from investigation into appointment of Deputy Commissioner of Police

Tue 15 Jan 2019

Findings have been released following three processes set up to examine the appointment of the Deputy Commissioner of Police. Wally Haumaha was ...

Findings have been released following three processes set up to examine the appointment of the Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Wally Haumaha was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police in May 2018. The recommendation was made in a paper to Cabinet from the State Services Commission.

Victim advocate Louise Nicholas had significant concerns about Wally Haumaha's appointment. She raised these with the Police Commissioner and other senior police when she learnt of the appointment and they were later reported in the media. Ms Nicholas referred to comments Haumaha had made during the 2004 Operation Austin investigation, which investigated her allegations of rape by then police officers Clint Rickards, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum in the 1980s. Haumaha had close associations or friendships with Rickards, Shipton and Schollum when they worked together at Rotorua police station in the 1980s and 1990s and expressed support for them when interviewed as part of the investigation and at other times.

Separately, three women spoke to media about allegations of workplace bullying by Mr Haumaha in 2016.

As a result of these concerns, three investigations were conducted:

  • The government initiated an inquiry into the process of appointing Wally Haumaha to the role
  • The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) investigated the complaints of workplace bullying
  • The State Services Commission reviewed the process of how the complaints of inappropriate workplace behaviour were handled by the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Corrections, the employers of the women who had raised issues with Mr Haumaha's workplace behaviour in 2016.

Government inquiry into process of appointment

Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced the Government Inquiry into the Appointment Process for a Deputy Commissioner of Police in July 2018. The Inquiry was administered by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and initially led by Dr Pauline Kingi, however Dr Kingi stepped down after concerns were raised about a potential conflict of interest. Queen's Counsel Mary Scholtens completed the inquiry. The inquiry did not consider whether Wally Haumaha was a suitable candidate but rather the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment, specifically whether the State Services Commission had all relevant information and provided this information to the Prime Minister and Minister of Police.

The final report, Report of the Government Inquiry into the Appointment Process for a Deputy Commissioner of Police | Uiui Kāwanatanga mō te Tukanga Whakatū I tētaki Kaikōmihana Tuarua o Ngā Pirihimana, was released in November 2018. In her report Ms Scholtens concluded "... that the process was sound and that there was no available and relevant information omitted." (page 2) However she also noted:

"1.8 There were two important pieces of information that were not available to the process:

(a) the fact that Ms Nicholas continued to hold significant concerns about DC Haumaha; and

(b) the fact that there existed people who believed they had been bullied by DC Haumaha in 2016.

1.9 The significance of these facts is that they gave rise to a risk that Ms Nicholas and/or the people affected in 2016 might raise their concerns in public and, if they did, that this could have the effect of undermining the appointment. I refer to these as 'unknown unknowns'. I do not know how the process could be improved to ensure such facts are known." (page 3)

Ms Scholtens concluded the process was "adequate and fit for purpose." Terms of reference for the Inquiry, Cabinet papers, minutes and other documents are available on the DIA website.

IPCA investigation into bullying

Complaints were made by three women employed by the Ministry of Justice and Department of Corrections in 2016, related to Wally Haumaha's behaviour while working on a joint project.

An additional complaint was made by a Police employee in August 2018. He had been present during behaviour the complaints related to and Haumaha called him to ask for his support after the media began making inquiries.

The IPCA investigated and the Report on complaints about Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha was published in December 2018.

IPCA concluded that Haumaha's behaviour related to allegations by the women was "inappropriate and unprofessional." In relation to Haumaha phoning another Police employee to ask for support, IPCA concluded Haumaha acted "improperly." IPCA noted that his behaviour towards the women in some incidents was "belittling and humiliating" and "intimidating." However, IPCA concluded that the behaviour did not constitute bullying:

"Based on the evidence it has received, the Authority has concluded, in respect of the first and second complaints, that some of DC Haumaha’s behaviour was inappropriate and unprofessional. However, while that behaviour was in many respects consistent with the common usage of the term ‘bullying’, it does not demonstrate the persistence implicit in the WorkSafe definition applicable to the workplace." (page 36)

A definition of workplace bullying is available from WorkSafe.

State Services Commission review into how complaints were handled

The State Services Commission (SSC) conducted a review of the process of how the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Corrections handled the bullying complaints made in 2016. The Terms of Reference state the process would be reviewed against new standards introduced in July 2017, Acting in the Spirit of Service: Speaking up.

The final report, Review of the Ministry of Justice and Department of Corrections handling of complaints regarding inappropriate workplace behaviour, was released in December 2018.

The report noted that the departments had multiple channels in place for raising concerns but the women who made complaints were not aware of the process, particularly in the context of a joint department project. The review concluded that the departments would not have met two of the three key elements of the model standards if they had applied at the relevant time. These were making sure processes are robust and keeping people safe.

The report notes that both departments have since done work to review their bullying and sexual harassment policies. Both Departments have provided an assurance that they have implemented the model standards. However there are some matters that still need to be addressed, so the report includes four recommendations. These relate to the specific challenges represented by cross-agency projects, the need for organisations to evaluate whether their changes are having the desired effect, and the importance of developing a plan for support as required by the model standards.

The report ends with the recommendation that the SSC update the model standards to address specific challenges that may arise in cross-agency work. The reviewers also recommended the SSC direct:

  • "the chief executive of Justice to act on the findings of its internal audit [of the Ministry of Justice complaints process];
  • the chief executive of Corrections to confirm that its programme to introduce new bullying and harassment policies includes an appropriate evaluation process; and
  • the chief executives of both Departments to review their new and proposed policies, procedures and training in this area to ensure that there is compliance with the section of the model standards entitled Keeping People Safe - Plan for Support."
    (page 16)

Response to findings from investigations

Following the release of the reports, based on the IPCA findings the Solicitor General advised the Prime Minister that "... there is not a clear and proper basis to support his [Haumaha's] removal." Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accepted this advice saying:

"I’m very disappointed with the inappropriate behaviour attributed by the IPCA to Wally Haumaha, but the Solicitor General has advised that there is not a clear and proper basis to support his removal. I have already sought an assurance from the Police Minister that the Commissioner of Police follow up on the issues raised in the report and ensures this Government’s expectations are met. My expectation is the Police maintain the highest standards of professionalism and show respect both for the public and everyone working with them at all times."

The Minister of Police Stuart Nash, wrote to the Commissioner of Police Mike Bush, saying:

“I have asked the Commissioner of Police to advise me how he intends to respond to the findings of the IPCA report. The report did not make any recommendations but it is clear that a finding of improper and unprofessional behaviour requires follow up action."

The full letter is available with the Beehive press release. NZ Police accepted the findings. Newstalk ZB and Radio NZ interviewed Mike Bush.

NZ Herald reported the women who reported the bullying have spoken out wanting to know what action Police leadership will take following the IPCA findings. They said,

"The [IPCA] report describes Deputy Commissioner Haumaha's behaviour at work towards us and our colleagues as humiliating, intimidating, inappropriate, aggressive, unprofessional and belittling. None of these are words that should apply to anyone's experiences working in the public service, and it is even more concerning when these describe the behaviour of the second highest ranked police officer in the country.

... We know these matters are bigger than us and we want this opportunity to support other women and men to be safe at work. We need to be assured that the standards that are being promoted by the State Services Commission are being followed."

Other responses can be found in the media list below.

Selected media

IPCA report: Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says bullying behaviour 'unacceptable', RNZ, 02.03.2021

Police bullying report: Dog-eat-dog workplace cultures and cronyism must go, IPCA finds, Stuff, 02.03.2021

Review Of Bullying And Culture Highlights Way Forward For Police, Press Release: Independent Police Conduct Authority, Scoop, 02.03.2021

Scathing police bullying report finds 'boys' club' theme 'perpetuated by allegiances, cliques, nepotism', One News, 02.03.2021

Police focused on preventing and managing bullying within its ranks, NZ Police media release, 01.10.2020

After Haumaha and Maxwell, can bullying laws be fixed? Newsroom, 28.05.2019

Wally Haumaha will not apologise over 'improper and unprofessional' behaviour, Stuff, 06.04.2019

Corrections dismisses hundreds of harassment complaints as 'reasonable', Radio NZ, 09.02.2019

Minister sets Haumaha expectations, Waatea News, 21.12.2018

Corrections staffer faces action over Haumaha, Newsroom, 21.12.2018

Top cop Wally Haumaha keeps job, Newsroom, 20.12.2018

Wally Haumaha saga: Police accept IPCA report, Commissioner Mike Bush to deal with issues as employment matter, NZ Herald, 20.12.2018

Wally Haumaha saga: State Services Commission finds 'poor communication' between Justice, Corrections and Police when women raised concerns, NZ Herald, 20.12.2018

Haumaha to return to work 'bewildered' after IPCA report into his humiliation of staff, Stuff, 20.12.2018

Haumaha complainants urge police to act on intimidating behaviour and 'dirty politics', Stuff, 20.12.2018

'We were on trial' - Two women who complained about Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha speak out, NZ Herald, 13.11.2018

Three women working on joint justice project left police headquarters alleging bullying by Wally Haumaha, NZ Herald, 09.08.2018

Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha apologises to Louise Nicholas for comments, NZ Herald, 29.06.2018

Statement from Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha, NZ Police press release, 29.06.2018

Police organisational culture, Beehive press release, 29.06.2018

Image: Pixabay

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