The Herald reports:
Three women working on a joint justice project walked out of Police National Headquarters and refused to return because of Wally Haumaha’s alleged bullying behaviour towards them.
The policy analysts – two from the Justice Ministry, one from Corrections – were based at PNHQ in Wellington working in the Māori, Pacific, Ethnic Services division run by Haumaha, a superintendent at the time.
They were excited to be working on the cross-sector project, which started in October 2015, to improve “justice outcomes” for Māori, who are over-represented in arrest statistics and the prison population.
A number of alleged verbal bullying incidents, including a particularly heated exchange in which one of Haumaha’s senior staff intervened, contributed to the three women leaving PNHQ in June 2016 feeling “devalued and disillusioned”.
So they did tell their managers.
However, the police have confirmed an allegation of bullying was later made by a third party, although no individuals were named.
On behalf of police, Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement “immediately” contacted the Justice Ministry and Corrections to request more information and advise that the staff involved could make a complaint if they wished.
“No further information or complaints were forthcoming to Mr Clement from the agencies,” a police spokeswoman said.
So why was there no further follow up?
“In the absence of any formal complaint, or further information, the matter was unable to be taken further and therefore not escalated to the Commissioner.”
It doesn’t sound like they tried very hard.
The woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said no one told her Clement had been in touch with Justice or Corrections.
“Nobody told me about it. I’m like, wow, because we would have met with [Clement],” she said, when the Herald told her of the response from police.
“I will make a complaint now. We trusted management to deal with it and never heard back.”
She told the Herald the experience was “pretty bruising” and she was extremely disappointed to see Haumaha promoted to deputy commissioner this year.
His position is becoming more and more untenable.
While the police staff followed Haumaha’s orders without question, the team from Justice and Corrections would challenge him.
“We were fully supported by our own managers who advocated on our behalf when the working situation with Haumaha continued to deteriorate”.
The woman relayed a particular incident, which was overheard by other police and employees on the floor, whereby she and Haumaha had a heated argument where her job was allegedly threatened.
This ended only when one of Haumaha’s senior police staff intervened.
“Soon after this incident in a meeting with all the project team and police personnel, the team was basically told that if we weren’t with him we were against him and should stand down from the project”.
My way or the highway.
Haumaha was one of two names put forward by the State Services Commission following a recruitment process.
Because of the pending inquiry, Nash has refused to confirm whether Haumaha was the top-ranked candidate.
This is very interesting. The Deputy Police Commissioner is basically appointed by the Prime Minister. What if it transpires he was not the top ranked candidate, but Ardern appointed him regardless?