Chris Bishop: When Dr Pauline Kingi was appointed to lead the independent inquiry into the appointment process around Mr Wally Haumaha, was she aware that Dr Kingi had publicly endorsed Mr Haumaha 23 times on LinkedIn, for every skill Mr Haumaha has listed on that website, and in some cases being the only person to endorse him, and that Mr Haumaha has endorsed Dr Kingi on at least three occasions for her skills listed on the LinkedIn website? …
Hon TRACEY MARTIN: This is important. Would you like to listen? The integrity of a highly respected public servant is being questioned; it’s important that her answers be placed on the record. She did confirm that she had, like many New Zealanders, set up a LinkedIn account when it was first launched, and that at time it was— …
Hon TRACEY MARTIN: It was common practice at that time—16 years ago—for Māori professionals to support each other on this new medium, through endorsement.
So the Minister’s defence of Kingi as the inquiry head is that she endorsed Haumaha 16 years ago when LinkedIn was set up as it was common practice for Maori professionals to support each other like this.
A pretty weak and patronising defence to start with, but then comes this:
Chris Bishop: Further to that answer, is the member aware that the endorsement function on LinkedIn was only invented and established in 2012, so references to LinkedIn profiles 15 years ago are an utter irrelevance?
Boom. Game over. It means either Kingi lied to Martin about the endorsements or Martin lied to the House about them.
If Kingi continues as the inquiry head, it will be seen as a total whitewash. She has personally endorsed the person whose appointment she is investigating. You can’t get a clearer conflict of interest.
It’s time for the PM to intervene. After all she is the one who actually appointed Haumaha.