Jared Savage reports:
New Zealand First deputy Fletcher Tabuteau and Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha are whanau, come from the same Rotorua marae.
New family links between New Zealand First and controversial deputy police commissioner appointment Wally Haumaha have emerged, as one of the party’s senior ministers looks to restart the inquiry into the process which led to his promotion.
Fletcher Tabuteau, the deputy leader of New Zealand First, comes from Waiteti Marae in Ngongotaha near Rotorua, of which Haumaha is the chairman.
They are both Ngāti Ngāraranui and Tabuteau referred to Haumaha as a member of his whānau in his maiden speech to Parliament in 2014.
Tabuteau’s uncle Tommy Gear – a close friend of Winston Peters – is a trustee of the Ngāti Ngāraranui Hapu Trust along with Haumaha.
Gear and Haumaha are senior leaders on the Waiteti Marae, where a special function was held in June last year to celebrate Haumaha’s promotion to assistant police commissioner.
New Zealand First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters was one of the speakers at the function, along with Police Commissioner Mike Bush.
This may explain why Peters gave the inquiry to a NZ First Minister. It could have gone to the SSC Minister (Hipkins) or Justice Minister (Little) or Attorney-General (Parker) or even the PM (as she made the appointment).
The Minister hand picked by Peters, in turn hand picked someone who had significant conflicts of interest – she was on Police recruitment panels, and had worked with Bush and Haumaha on Police Maori strategy.
What is very interesting is that Peters spoke at the function to celebrate Haumaha being made an Assistant Police Commissioner in June 2017. Peters was not Deputy PM then. So for him to be invited to speak would suggest a deep personal connection with Haumaha.
Ardern really needs to show some leadership and take the inquiry off the NZ First Ministers before it becomes even more of a Mickey Mouse show.