Deputy police commissioner Wally Haumaha (Image: Chris Coad)

The Bulletin: Nothing to see here, says Haumaha inquiry report

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Wally Haumaha appointment inquiry report comes back clean, primary and secondary teachers to mull united front, and how will Rocket Lab make money?

The long awaited report from the inquiry into the appointment of Wally Haumaha as deputy police commissioner has come back. It clears police and the State Services Commission of any fault in the appointment process, reports the NZ Herald. However, given how long this saga has dragged on, there are still a lot of loose ends that the report doesn’t even come close to tying up.

National has attacked the nature of the review, saying it was never intended to address whether or not Mr Haumaha was a suitable candidate for the job, reports Newstalk ZB. Earlier in the year the NZ Herald revealed that Mr Haumaha had made comments about officers accused of raping Louise Nicholas, saying that police had to stick together, and that the allegations were nonsense. And while the officers were not convicted on that charge, two of them have been convicted of sexual offences. At the time, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Mr Haumaha “deeply regretted” the comments, and had worked to change police culture.

The inquiry report has also been accused of minimising complaints of bullying made against Mr Haumaha, reports Newshub. Those complaints are still being assessed by the Independent Police Conduct Authority, and the women who made them are disappointed with the outcome of the inquiry. The inquiry found that no formal complaint about his conduct had been made, but the woman say that’s just “semantics,” as they say they had made numerous complaints and come up against “impenetrable systemic barriers” within the police to get those complaints heard.

And what about the political angles? Mr Haumaha has been a strong enough supporter of the NZ First party to have made a bid to stand as a candidate for them. Tracey Martin, an NZ First MP, was the minister overseeing the inquiry. That also led to National raising questions about the inquiry – here’s a Radio NZ report from the time – on the grounds that it might constitute a conflict of interest.

Here’s an opinion piece from Stuff’s Stacey Kirk that sums up well why this whole thing has been, and will probably continue to be, so messy. It’s about the politics of perception, she writes, and fair or otherwise, that remains really important. As for Mr Haumaha, he released a statement, saying he’s looking forward to getting on with his job.


Depending how this current strike campaign goes, primary and secondary school teachers might launch joint actions next year, reports Radio NZ. Secondary school teachers have recently been unhappy with the offers put before them, and striking is on the cards. A meeting will be held between executives of the two unions will be held at the end of the week to discuss it.


Rocket Lab successfully made their first commercial launch over the weekend, but questions persist about the financial viability of the company. The NZ Herald’s Chris Keall has looked into that, and has been told by company founder Peter Beck that Rocket Lab will “come out of the end of this year cash-flow positive.” The plan is to launch another flight within a fortnight, and keep moving aggressively to capture as much of the commercial aerospace market as possible before other big players muscle in.


A dispute has erupted over a proposed dump in the Dome Valley north of Auckland, reports Radio NZ. Opponents say it could allow toxic waste into waterways, and spoil the countryside character of the area. But Waste Management, a company mostly owned by the Chinese government, says Auckland needs new landfills, and modern dumps were built to a very high standard to prevent leakage and leaching.


For the second day in a row, a bungle on minister Shane Jones’ watch has been revealed. Today it’s the NZ Herald, who have written about a million pine seedlings being ordered for land so heavily choked by weeds planting couldn’t go ahead. It has put a bit of a brake on the billion trees programme, one of the government’s flagship environmental and economic development policies.


The Royal Commission of inquiry into sexual abuse of children in state care will be widened to include religious institutions. That has been pushed for pretty much ever since the inquiry was announced, and one Dunedin survivor strongly welcomed the decision as being “about time”, reports the ODT. It will expand the scope of the inquiry significantly, but even before the decision is was going to be a long and difficult process, with the first interim report due in late 2020.


A decision to block police from marching in uniform in the Auckland Pride parade has sparked an uproar in the LGBT community. It has led to the Auckland Pride Board treasurer resigning, a call for a boycott, and furious debates on social media. The latest, from Express, is that negotiations have restarted between the police and the APB. The issue has long been controversial, in large part because of the many abuses that have been committed by police against the LGBT community – here’s an explanation from earlier in the year by trans activist Lexie Matheson that’s really worth reading.


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You can’t put a price on democracy, but you can put a price on a seat

Right now on The Spinoff: Sociolinguist Vini Olsen-Reeder writes about the underlying power structures that lead to a lawyer being told off for speaking Te Reo (an official language of NZ) in court. Madeleine Chapman asks an expert to price out which MP has the most valuable seat in Parliament. And you’ve just got to take the time to watch this: From The Spinoff Atea and NZ on Air, Under the Korowai – a documentary about Te Whare Marie, which combines clinical and Māori approaches to treating and understanding mental health.


I’m sure I’ve mentioned a few times how much I love Wikipedia, so I naturally had to share this story from Stuff about the people who actually make it what it is. It’s a really fascinating discussion on just what makes a person notable, and therefore worth an entry. That’s a topic that is incredibly easy and fun to have a pub discussion about, but really tricky to define, and the debates and edit wars over who should be on Wikipedia can get quite heated. Here’s an excerpt:

The first article Leachman created was also the only one she’s had challenged. A stay-at-home mum, she was bored once her kids went to kindy, so volunteered to transcribe historical documents for America’s Smithsonian Institution.

The 47-year-old came across mentions of self-taught botanist and collector Charlotte Cortlandt Ellis, who had several species named in her honour. There was frustratingly little about her online, so Leachman created a Wikipedia bio article.

It was quickly tagged for deletion. “Simply being a skilled collector does not merit a bio alone, you must show her impact and significance,” the challenger said.

“I got really upset and I started arguing about her notability.”


Here’s the first in a fascinating series from German magazine Spiegel, about the corruption big money has brought to football. In particular newly minted football royalty Manchester City have come in for heavy scrutiny, with allegations that their oil-rich bankrollers have been able to help them circumvent Financial Fair Play rules. The information comes from documents obtained by an organisation called Football Leaks, which seeks to expose how professional football actually works.


From our partners, World Energy Day has put a spotlight on New Zealand’s sluggish progress towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Vector’s Beth Johnson explains why the time is right to accelerate.


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