Deputy police commissioner Wally Haumaha (Image: Chris Coad)

The Bulletin: Haumaha to keep job despite criticism

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Wally Haumaha to keep job despite criticism in IPCA report, state of the immigration system in focus, and quarterly stats show economic slowdown.

The appointment of Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha has been a festering sore of a story over much of the year. From the criticisms raised by Louise Nicholas when he was first appointed, to the connections with NZ First, to the bullying allegations, there has been a steady drip of scandal since May.

The latest is a report from the IPCA that found he “aggressively asserted authority and belittled staff”, as well as spreading confidential information in an an attempt to discredit one of the two women who had made complaints about him, reports Stuff. Does that make what he did bullying? There’s a slightly technical answer to that – the report found that at times his actions met the threshold for bulling, but was “not persistent enough to constitute workplace bullying.”

But he’s going to keep his job, says PM Jacinda Ardern. She spoke to media after the report came out, and TVNZ reports that she’s disappointed, but that the threshold to remove him from the job hadn’t been met. She did however insist to Police minister Stuart Nash that he pass on her disappointment to top brass.

And on that, the women who laid the complaints want to know what police are going to do about the report. They told the NZ Herald that nobody should have to put up with that sort of thing at work, least of all in the public service. They said it was particularly concerning given Mr Haumaha’s high rank.

As for Mr Haumaha himself, he has had a fair few supporters this year too. And Stuff reports that while he’s heading back to work, Mr Haumaha’s lawyer says he has been “bewildered” by the ongoing saga, and that the report had been biased against his client. “Two years after the event, history seems to have been rewritten in a manner unfair to him. It’s very hard to swallow.” I don’t imagine there’s anyone who’s been involved at any stage of this process who has found it easy to swallow.


Here’s a big, meaty, state of play type piece to read over the weekend about the problems in our immigration system. It’s by Stuff journalists Steve Kilgallon and Dileepa Fonseka, who have both done a lot of work in this area. What they’ve found is a common scam being run – migrants being charged exorbitant fees in exchange for jobs or visas that will help them stay in the country. The other thing they noted – they were only able to investigate a fraction of the cases they got wind of, let alone the extent to which it is going on.


The latest quarterly economic stats are out, and they show a pretty sharp slowdown, reports the NZ Herald. It comes on the back of a strong last quarter, but also fell below even relatively pessimistic expectations. Manufacturing – particularly food manufacturing – is being cited as an area that has contributed to that slowdown.


Just in time for everyone to get on the motorway for the summer, the question of lower speed limits has been raised. This feature on Stuff outlines some of the pros and cons of such a move. It would potentially lower the road toll, but at the same time the concept is horribly unpopular with the public. 80km/h is seen as a speed limit that could act as a ‘magic number’ of having a dramatic effect on the number of road deaths from crashes.


Here’s a follow up to the story yesterday about the Sensible Sentencing Trust wrongly labelling a man a pedophile on their offender database. Something similar happened to Newshub’s Dan Satherley, who shares a name (and therefore google SEO) with a convicted rapist – and people googling his name were sent first to the SST database. The database is currently down for ‘maintenance’ and there is no indication as to when it will be back up again.


The turnover of Parliamentary staffers has been abnormally high this year, reports Radio NZ. It’s partly being put down to the demographics of the workforce, and also something that tends to happen with changes in government generally. However, there are concerns because at 16% turnover for the year, that’s the highest it has ever been on record.


Here’s an international piece that I wanted to share, because it’s such a comprehensive piece of fact-checking. A journalist at respected German magazine Der Spiegel has been sacked for widespread fabrications in his work. One piece in particular, about a small rural USA town, was chock full of egregious lies. So to correct the record, a couple of residents of the town published this on Medium. The sorts of things that it pulls out get progressively more and more jaw-dropping.


A reminder: The Bulletin is going on break over summer, with the last edition out on Monday, and then coming back on January 21.


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Numerous rumours of IKEA’s arrival in New Zealand have been greatly exaggerated. (Photo: Getty).

Right now on The Spinoff: Maria Slade is deeply skeptical that we’re going to see IKEA here anytime soon, despite breathless reporting of their press release. Steven Walton writes about an activist fighting against exploitation in hospitality. Emily Writes went on holiday to Picton (not to pass through, to actually go to Picton) and it actually looks like a pretty cool family spot. And Henry Oliver has taken your suggestions and votes and found the survey winners for the best music of 2018.

Speaking of Year in Review stuff – here’s The Spinoff’s year in review. For the website and the company as a whole, it has been a rather big one, and it’s pretty easy to forget all of the cool stuff that has happened. Fortunately, this magnificent piece of design captures it all up in one place.


Best Journalism of 2018: Toby Manhire, our editor, has written this section about what he reckons the best journalism The Spinoff has been this year. I didn’t have any hand in writing this, and yes, I am squirming. Also, hard agree with all of these picks. Without any further ado:

I want to talk up some of the longform investigative journalism the Spinoff has published this year, but permit me to pause first to make Alex Braae squirm by saying: the Bulletin is a daily triumph of news judgement and writing. It’s hard to believe it only launched in March, so firmly has it become an integral part of the Spinoff and an indispensable part of readers’ mornings. At a function a couple of months a friend – no, let’s say an acquaintance – asked me, “Are you still working for the Bulletin?” Bravo, Alex.

I could fill a week of Bulletins celebrating the coruscating work from our writers across every section of the site, but for now I’ll highlight half a dozen investigative pieces – most of which were made possible by supporter of our longform fund on Press Patron (click herefor more details).

In March, Alex Casey and Noelle McCarthy published “In plain sight: behind the pages of Pavement magazine”. The fruit of many months of research and more than a dozen interviews, the investigative feature painted a striking, often bleak, picture of life at the publication that was once the bible of fashion in Auckland.

The same month saw David Farrier dive as only he can down the rabbit hole of Zach, New Zealand’s all-too-miraculous medical AI. It’s such a ripping story that I genuinely envy you if you haven’t yet read it. It does raise some very serious issues, but when it gets made into a movie I suspect it will be a comedy.

Madeleine Chapman was rightly showered in praise and prizes at the NZSA business journalism awards last month for her work in exposing the dodgy labelling at fashion brand WORLD – and the sometimes comical bluster in response from its founder Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet.

We’ve probably become inured over recent years to revelations of sexual abuse in the church. But in her exposé of the NZ branch of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Amy Parsons-King lets the victims tell their stories in a way that is viscerally affecting. This is incredibly important journalism.

It takes a special writer to weave very personal experience with hard-nosed science reporting, and Catherine Woulfe delivered an exemplar of the form in her feature about fertility and C-section scars. A tour de force.

And a final feature to bookmark for the summer break: Don Rowe sensitively told the harrowing tragedies made by Australia’s brutal deportation policy. If reading his featuredoesn’t make you angry then you should get your pulse checked.


One of the sporting things that will be on while The Bulletin is on hiatus is an exceedingly intriguing tennis tournament. If the weather gods play ball this time, the ASB Classic could genuinely be a classic, with a particularly stacked Women’s Draw, and some crowd favourites in the Men’s Draw. One word of warning though – the NZ Herald reports some unlucky punters are allegedly being scammed by Viagogo (who else) so make sure if you do head along, you’ve got something genuine in your hand.

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Radio NZ is reporting that Black Sticks coach Mark Hager is going to get the sack. It comes after a review into the team environment and culture, the release of which has now been delayed until next year. This will be a fascinating ‘watch this space’ over the next couple of weeks too.


From our partners at Vector: The pros and cons of putting solar panels on the roof of your home are well debated. But what about the empty rooftop spaces on commercial buildings throughout our country? PowerSmart’s Sam Vivian explains why more New Zealand businesses are adding commercial solar systems to their buildings.


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