Mary Scholtens QC says her investigation will consider what information was available about bullying allegations before Wally Haumaha was promoted to top job, but the IPCA will look into the 'truth or otherwise' of the two formal complaints.

Evidence of alleged bullying given to the Government Inquiry into the appointment process which led to Wally Haumaha's promotion to Deputy Commissioner will be handed over to the IPCA to investigate.

While the inquiry by Mary Scholtens will consider the alleged behaviour in 2016, the Queen's Counsel is not investigating the "truth or otherwise of the complaints" but only whether the information was potentially available during the recruitment process.

Her inquiry, which is due to report back at the end of September, was ordered by Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters in June after the Herald revealed controversial comments made by Haumaha about the rape allegations against his friends by Louise Nicholas.

Scholtens will not look into Haumaha's suitability for the role, rather whether all the relevant information was provided to, or gathered by, the State Services Commission panel which recommended Haumaha as one of two potential candidates for the senior job.

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A second investigation by the Independent Police Conduct Authority is now underway after formal complaints of bullying from two of the three women who walked out of Police National Headquarters in June 2016 and refused to return because of Haumaha's alleged behaviour.

The policy analysts - two from the Ministry of Justice, one from Corrections - were based at PNHQ in Wellington working in the Māori, Pacific, Ethnic Services division run by Haumaha, a superintendent at the time.

The Herald revealed in August the three women told their managers, did not return to PNHQ, and continued working on the project from the Ministry of Justice offices.

The written statements of the two women had been provided to Scholtens, as well as the Professional Conduct division of the police and the IPCA.

Scholtens was "mindful" the two investigations "should not adversely impact on each other and that people are not unnecessarily interviewed twice about the same matters".

"The [Government] Inquiry emphasises that it is not investigating the truth or otherwise of the complaints against Mr Haumaha," Scholtens said in a minute released on the Internal Affairs website.

"It is simply considering whether there was information available at the time of the appointment, such as complaints in relation to his behaviour, that might have been relevant to that appointment process, as required by its terms of reference."

As such, Scholtens said partial transcripts of interviews would be forwarded to the IPCA if the evidence was relevant to the allegations of bullying.

Two more investigations could be launched, depending on the outcome of the parallel inquiries.

An internal police employment case could be opened after the IPCA makes its findings about the bullying allegations, while the State Services Commission could look into how three government agencies handled the allegations in the first place.

Three different statements were issued by the Justice Ministry, Corrections and the police after the Herald broke the story.

So National MP Chris Bishop wrote to State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes asking him to clear up the conflicting stories.

Hughes said he would postpone any decision to conduct his own investigation until after Scholtens' inquiry was complete.

"If, at any stage, there are questions or issues which remain outstanding in relation to how the government agencies have discharged their responsibilities here, I will certainly look into them," Hughes told Bishop in a letter.

Many of New Zealand's most senior police officers including Commissioner Mike Bush and three of his deputies - Haumaha, Mike Clement and Audrey Sonerson - are likely to be questioned by the QC.

Haumaha was promoted to assistant commissioner in June 2017 by Bush, who was also on the SSC panel which recommended him in May 2018 as one of two candidates for the vacant deputy job.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush was on the panel which recommended the promotion of Wally Haumaha. Photo / Andrew Warner.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush was on the panel which recommended the promotion of Wally Haumaha. Photo / Andrew Warner.

The inquiry into Haumaha's appointment was announced the day the Herald revealed comments he made during Operation Austin, an investigation into historic police rape allegations made by Louise Nicholas.

He described his friends Brad Shipton as a "softie" and Bob Schollum as a "legend" with women, while one officer told the 2004 investigation into the police sex allegations that Haumaha described Nicholas' allegations as "a nonsense".

While Haumaha has apologised, Police Minister Stuart Nash said he was unaware of the "deeply disappointing" comments when he gave Haumaha's name to the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for the deputy commissioner role.

Mary Scholtens, QC, will share evidence of alleged bullying with the IPCA. Photo / Supplied.
Mary Scholtens, QC, will share evidence of alleged bullying with the IPCA. Photo / Supplied.

How a political fiasco unfolded

• June 29: Herald reveals Wally Haumaha's statement to Operation Austin. Police Minister Stuart Nash says he was unaware of them. Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters announces inquiry into appointment process.

• July 2: Herald reveals Haumaha was once picked to be a candidate for New Zealand First.

• July 23: Herald reveals Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement warned Police Commissioner Mike Bush about Haumaha's history. Dr Pauline Kingi announced as chair of the inquiry.

• July 31: Herald reveals Dr Pauline Kingi endorsed Haumaha on LinkedIn. She steps down the next day.

• August 6: Herald reveals Winston Peters was a guest speaker at Waitetī Marae to celebrate Haumaha's promotion to Assistant Commissioner and other links to New Zealand First.

• August 9: Herald reveals three policy analysts from Justice and Corrections working on joint project leave Police National Headquarters because of alleged bullying behaviour by Haumaha.

• August 10: Mary Scholtens QC named as new inquiry head.

• August 14: Herald reveals internal police investigation into complaint Haumaha contacted a lower ranking police officer ahead of Herald story about the bullying allegations.

• August 20: Mary Scholtens to start inquiry and report back six weeks later.

• September 6: Two women make formal complaints about Haumaha's alleged behaviour, Independent Police Conduct Authority to investigate.