Is Kingi independent enough?

The Herald reports:

A respected Māori leader will look into how a senior police officer was promoted without the Police Minister being told of controversial comments he made during a notorious investigation into police rape allegations.

Dr Pauline Kingi was this afternoon announced as the chair of the inquiry into the appointment of as the deputy commissioner of police in June.

She has a Master of Laws degree from Harvard, is a past chancellor of AUT, a long track record in community and public service, and was made a Companion of the Order of Merit in 1999.

The inquiry will “examine, identify and report on the adequacy of the process” which led to Haumaha’s appointment, the Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said at a press conference this afternoon.

Dr Kingi is well respected. But she has a current role advising Police on recruitment, which makes her a less than ideal choice to head an inquiry into the recruitment of the Deputy Commissioner.

Her biography states:

She is a member of the Auckland District Advisory Taumata; her role is to assist the Auckland District Commander of Police on sensitive issues involving the Māori Community and Policing. She has assisted the Auckland District Police with the selection of the Superintendent Operations for Auckland. She is currently assisting with Intelligence Training for Policing Operation, and the selection of the new Area Commander for the Counties Region.

So Kingi is actively involved in selection of senior police officers, and she is handpicked by NZ First Ministers to review the selection of a former NZ First candidate as Deputy Police Commissioner.

This is not to suggest Kingi won’t do a thorough job. But her role in already working for the Police on recruitment issues means she may not be seen as truly independent. We don’t even know if she is paid by the Police for her work for them.

Wouldn’t it have been better for the to appoint an independent QC?

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