The Herald reports:
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters made a personal explanation in Parliament today in a bid to distance himself from Wally Haumaha, despite Peters speaking at an event to celebrate Haumaha’s promotion last year to Assistant Police Commissioner.
Peters said he had been invited to the event to mark Haumaha’s promotion under the previous National Government and that the Police had asked Peters to make a speech.
“I do not think that in any way compromises me,” said Peters.
This is avoiding the real question. Why was Peters asked to speak? Surely it was because Haumaha requested it. Which means they have a significant relationship.
It can’t just be because Peters is Maori. The then Deputy Prime Minister, Paula Bennett, is Maori and hence was the most senior Maori MP.
Haumaha has multiple links to NZ First. He was selected as a candidate. He is related to the Deputy Leader. He is very close to Tommy Gear, who is Peters’ closest confidante.
This is why no NZ First Minister should be involved with the inquiry, and the Herald exposes the red herring that it had to be Tracey Martin as she is Internal Affairs Minister:
The Internal Affairs staff provide administrative assistance to public and Government inquiries set up under the Inquiries Act 2013, but that does not mean the Internal Affairs Minister must set up each inquiry.
David Parker as Attorney-General, for example, set up the Government inquiry into the Operation Burnham.
It seems pretty clear Winston chose Martin as a loyal NZ First Minister, rather than Parker or Little. And Martin had 10 candidates to choose from, and chose an inquiry head who thought so highly of Haumaha (whom she had worked with) that she had publicly endorsed all his skills on Linked In.
The sad thing about all this is that the actions of the NZ First Ministers make Haumaha’s viability for the job more tenuous. I’m not sure his comments 14 years ago should disqualify him for the job. But the more NZ First tries to protect him, the more he looks like a partisan appointment, and the less confidence we have in the Police.
The best thing NZ First could do for Haumaha is for Martin to recuse herself. Otherwise he may end up being the victim of their attempts to run interference.