The mother of police officer Matthew Hunt, who was killed while on duty in West Auckland in 2020, is still waiting for a WorkSafe report into her son's death after at least 15 months of it being in draft form.
Diane Hunt is incredibly frustrated after months of emails and delays from the health and safety regulator, prompting her to make a formal complaint.
WorkSafe says the incident report into Hunt's death is being finalised, but it has needed information from police, the latest of which was provided only on September 2.
The Herald requested a statement from police but did not receive one before publication.
Hunt, 28, was shot dead by Eli Epiha in Massey on June 19, 2020, while he was undertaking a routine traffic stop.
His colleague, Constable David Goldfinch, was also shot several times but managed to get away and survived the attack.
In December, 25-year-old Epiha was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 27 years - one of the longest jail sentences in New Zealand history.
At the time, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said Epiha's "shocking, senseless, unacceptable act of violence" had caused anxiety and concern for all police officers and their families.
In emails seen by the Herald, Diane Hunt first contacted WorkSafe on December 7, 2020, wanting to know whether an investigation had begun into what she deemed "Matthew's absolutely pointless death at work".
Seventeen days later, WorkSafe acting chief executive Mike Hargreaves responded, saying it was yet to be determined whether a formal investigation would take place and apologised for WorkSafe not contacting her sooner.
In May last year, she was finally able to meet with WorkSafe's investigations national manager, Hayden Mander, and northern region investigations area manager Danielle Henry.
Hunt says she was told at the meeting that an incident report into Matthew's death was in draft form, something confirmed by Henry in a June 3, 2021 email.
"The report is currently in draft form and I will be happy to provide it to you when finalised, along with an update of any assessments that we conduct," Henry wrote.
In September last year, Sensible Sentencing Trust co-leader Darroch Ball - advocating for Hunt - wrote to Henry, requesting a timeline of when the report would be finalised.
Later that month, Henry said the lockdowns enforced by Covid-19's Delta variant meant necessary follow-up assessments with the police could not be undertaken.
After another email from Ball in November, Henry said Covid-19 restrictions meant it wouldn't be until January or February this year before she and Mander could conduct the assessments and plan a visit to the Police College to observe changes to training.
During this process, Hunt resorted to making Official Information Act requests in her efforts to obtain information.
On January 10, she sent an email to WorkSafe chief executive Phil Parkes and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood, critical of the "empty promises and scant detail" she felt she'd been provided.
Parkes responded with a letter later that month, acknowledging WorkSafe had found no health and safety breaches and had decided not to launch a formal investigation.
He said a special team had been formed with the purpose of engaging with victims' families earlier, following the insufficient contact Diane Hunt had received.
Parkes also apologised for what he deemed an unacceptable delay in response to Hunt's OIA requests.
"What happened to your son was tragic and unfair and I know that this is not the response you had hoped for," Parkes said.
Mander and Henry were finally able to review updated police training in May and the last aspect in finalising the report was said to be sourcing "supporting documentation" from police.
Following advice from the Ombudsman, Hunt lodged a formal complaint with WorkSafe on June 12.
The next day, Mander said told Hunt in an email; "In short – WorkSafe are requesting the information from New Zealand Police in order to conduct due diligence".
On Monday, WorkSafe told the Herald the report was still yet to be finalised.
"Completing the report has been contingent on information held by the New Zealand Police about improvements to health and safety and training improvement," WorkSafe specialist interventions head Catherine Gardner said.
"WorkSafe has also needed additional information from the New Zealand Police, the latest of which was provided on September 2."
Gardner said WorkSafe was committed to providing Hunt with the report once it was finalised.
Hunt, speaking to the Herald, said the extensive delay had diminished her trust in both the police and WorkSafe.
"The more they string it out, the more I think they've got something to hide."
She referenced her frustration in having to wait more than two years after her son's death for the report to be finished.
Hunt hoped the report would help support calls for general arming of police, especially those who worked in dangerous areas like West Auckland where her son died.
"I suppose I want them to acknowledge Matthew as I see him, a poor young man who lost his life for nothing and for that, he deserves something."