COMMENT:

The case of Wally Haumaha is one that defies all political understanding.

It's got so out of hand, but could have been solved so easily.

At the very start, all the Coalition Government needed to do was force Haumaha to resign his job as Police Deputy Commissioner. Problem solved. But for some reason, the Government instead formed a rolling maul and began protecting the man.

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Six weeks later, the Government has a weeping sore of a saga to deal with. No one's coming out of this one looking good. Not Haumaha, the woman originally appointed to investigate him, the Police Minister, the Prime Minister, Winston Peters nor New Zealand First.

All they had to do was tell him to quit. They can't technically fire a Deputy Police Commissioner. But they could've strongly suggested he resign - which happens all the time in politics.

So, why didn't they?

All guesses point to New Zealand First.

Wally Haumaha's name has been linked to that party so many times, it's created the impression that NZ First and Peters are protecting him.

Haumaha was once selected as the party's Rotorua candidate. He's related to deputy leader Fletcher Tabuteau. And at an event celebrating Haumaha's promotion, Peters delivered a speech.

It's an unfortunate perception for Labour because it reinforces the belief that the real power in this Coalition Government lies, not on the ninth floor of the Beehive, but on the seventh. That's where Peters' office is. This saga gives the impression that Peters will do as he pleases, even if it forces Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to defend the indefensible with a face that says she knows she's defending the indefensible.

It's not impossible to believe NZ First holds the power. Remember, it's because of the party that this coalition is a government. Which means it can also end this coalition. So, safe to assume that NZ First probably gets what it wants.

Still, it's hard to understand why NZ First would want to still protect Haumaha. This story now has more twists than a shipping rope. Pauline Kingi's endorsements of all Haumaha's skills on LinkedIn. Her resignation from the inquiry into his appointment. Bullying allegations at Police National Headquarters. Police Minister Stuart Nash's strange gym video shout out to Haumaha.

Surely by now it's just not worth it. It's sucking up a huge amount of political capital. And, if Peters is the man protecting Haumaha, he's surely been in politics long enough to see this Government is paying too high a price for something so small. And something so easily fixed.

Getting Haumaha to resign would've been easy because he deserves it.

His 2005 comments to Operation Austin - which kicked off this whole saga in late June - were enough. The bit that riled most people is that he told an investigating officer he didn't believe Louise Nicholas' rape allegations and that he thought convicted rapist Brad Shipton was a good guy.

For me, that's not the greatest of his errors.

The worst of his comments was "we have to stick together". As in, the boys in blue need to have each other's backs. That's the bit I think makes him inappropriate for the job. Especially when his boss is the guy who went to Bruce Hutton's funeral and described him as having "integrity beyond reproach".

Yes, that's the Bruce Hutton who planted evidence to secure false murder convictions against Arthur Allan Thomas. Integrity shmegrity, right? Who cares if the two top cops have displayed questionable judgement when it comes to other boys in blue? Who cares if that cuts to the integrity of the police force, right?

That would've been enough to say goodbye to Haumaha. Six weeks on, it still is.

It's a puzzle why that hasn't happened.