Hutton funeral eulogy issues raised in Parliament

By Kate Shuttleworth

Bruce Hutton. Photo / NZ Herald
Bruce Hutton. Photo / NZ Herald

Labour asked questions in Parliament today about a potential promotion of deputy police commissioner Mike Bush, in light of comments he made at the funeral of Bruce Hutton.

It is believed Mr Bush will be a strong contender for the role of police commissioner, and Police Minister Anne Tolley would not be drawn on whether she would support his bid.

During Question Time, Labour's Trevor Mallard asked if Mrs Tolley supported comments made by Mr Bush in a eulogy to the late detective inspector Bruce Hutton.

Mr Bush told mourners that Hutton had "integrity beyond reproach''.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority received two complaints about the second-highest ranked officer's comments at the funeral, but decided not to take any formal action.

Bruce Hutton was a detective who was found by a Royal Commission to have planted evidence used to wrongly convict Arthur Allan Thomas of the murder of Harvey and Jeannette Crewe.

Mr Mallard asked Mrs Tolley if she supported the comments Mr Bush had made in his eulogy to Mr Hutton.

She replied: "I understand that those comments were read from Mr Hutton's service record and that was an appropriate action to take at the man's funeral in front of the man's family and friends.''

"They were on the man's record prior to, my understanding it, prior to the Arthur Allan Thomas case.''

Mr Mallard asked whether, in light of his comments, Mrs Tolley would rule out supporting Mr Bush as a candidate for the soon to be vacant Police Commissioner's position.

"We currently have a commissioner, and it would be inappropriate for any politician at any stage to make any comments about a future employment of any of our outstanding police commissioners. I'm amazed that that member would sully the name of one of the top-serving police officers in this country,'' she replied.

- APNZ

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