The National Party are criticising the appointment of Dr Pauline Kingi to head the independent inquiry into Wally Haumaha as deputy police commissioner, after Dr Kingi is believed to have endorsed him on the employment site LinkedIn.
National Party spokesperson for police Chris Bishop said there was a “clear and unequivocal conflict of interest, and the Government should never have appointed Dr Kingi in the first instance”.
This time it’s inquiry head Dr Pauline Kingi who’s in the spotlight.
Source: 1 NEWS
However Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said Dr Kingi is independent and the endorsements have been investigated.
NZ Herald reported Mr Haumaha’s LinkedIn account shows 23 skill endorsements from an account in the name of Dr Pauline Kingi, including leadership, Government and stakeholder management.
“The process has been thoroughly investigated by a number of sources. LinkedIn is a career enhancing utility that was out about 15-years-ago, and a whole lot of professional people all endorse themselves,” Mr Peters said.
“There’s nothing in this story.”
According to Forbes and BusinessInsider, LinkedIn only introduced its endorsement feature in 2012.
In Question Time today, Mr Bishop pointed this out, saying: “References to LinkedIn profiles 15-years-ago are utter irrelevance”.
Tracey Martin, who heads the inquiry into Willy Haumaha’s police appointment, said Dr Kingi ‘has given great service” to NZ.
Source: Parliament TV
Mr Peters said the pair were not friends or colleagues. When asked why she would have endorsed Mr Haumaha on LinkedIn Mr Peters said “because everybody did back then, the only person who wasn’t endorsed was me”.
Mr Peters estimated the endorsements were made about 15 years ago and the inquiry was into the process of appointment, “not the appointment”.
“Cabinet office has been checked out, Department of Internal Affairs has been checked, Crown Law’s been checked, we’ve done all the checks we possibly could do.”
Mr Peters announced last week Dr Kingi would be heading the independent inquiry into the appointment of Mr Haumaha as the new Deputy Police Commissioner.
It came after NZ Herald reported an officer told the 2004 Operation Austin investigation into the police sex allegations that Mr Haumaha called Louise Nicholas’ rape allegations “nonsense” and that “nothing really happened”.
“It is important to say outright that I take responsibility for those comments, I deeply regret them, and I unreservedly apologise for the hurt and concern they have caused,” he said.
Dr Pauline Kingi is Harvard University educated and served as a barrister in 1980. She is a former Chancellor of Auckland University of Technology.
Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin is in charge of the inquiry.
Mr Peters was asked on July 2 if there was a conflict of interest with the deputy police commissioner, as he applied to seek selection to stand for New Zealand First in 2005.
“There has been an allegation that he was a candidate, which is false, candidates for NZ First are those people who withstand the electorate specific or the list process nomination and notification all the way to the electoral commission, he did not,” Mr Peters said.
Mr Peters said “a whole lot of people start and then stop” when it comes to seeking selection to political parties and he had no idea what Mr Haumaha’s political associations are now.
In a statement today a police spokeswoman said.
“This is an independent inquiry administered by the Department of Internal Affairs. Police has had no role, in any way, in either the setting up of the inquiry or the appointment of Dr Kingi.
“Furthermore, as an independent inquiry, it would have been entirely inappropriate for Police to have had such a role.
“We have previously said that we look forward to clarifying all matters raised recently and supporting the inquiry, however it is not appropriate to provide any further public comment at this time until the inquiry has been completed.
“It is also not appropriate for us to make any comment about Dr Kingi’s CV.”
* An earlier version of the this story incorrectly stated that Police Commissioner Mike Bush supported the appointment of Dr Kingi.