An upset police staff member wound up in a verbal altercation with Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn after finding him "wired" with a television recording device during a private chat.
The discovery, in the pressure-filled days after the Pike River Mine disaster which took 29 lives, led to tension in the relationship between some officers and Kokshoorn, the popular face of the grieving district.
A police national headquarters spokesman, when asked about the incident this week, said: "There was an incident that involved Mr Kokshoorn [who] had not declared he had a microphone on."
The spokesman said police were aware of "one incident" and it was a matter between Kokshoorn and TV3, who had wired him up.
Kokshoorn said the incident happened during filming of a 60 Minutes documentary. He said a camera crew was following him around and he was constantly wired for broadcast.
After leaving a public briefing, said Kokshoorn, he was pulled aside by a police communications staff member for a discussion.
The pair had been in discussions for a short while when a camera operator approached and began filming.
Kokshoorn said the staff member was affronted and asked what was going on. However, he said, the misunderstanding was straightened out.
TV3 did not reply to questions.