Government to hold inquiry into Wally Haumaha appointment

Government to hold inquiry into Wally Haumaha appointment
Photo credit: AAP/file

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters says an inquiry will be held into the controversial appointment of Deputy Commissioner of Police Wally Haumaha.

"Cabinet will consider the matter on Monday to determine the specific details of the inquiry and its terms of reference," Mr Peters said in a statement on Friday evening.

It comes after Louise Nicholas, who alleged in 2004 that she was raped by three police officers in the 1980s, spoke out against the appointment. 

During the police investigation in 2004 Mr Haumaha described her allegation of gang rape as "nonsense" and said "nothing really happened and we have to stick together".

She told NMZE she "hit the roof" when she found out about Mr Haumaha's appointment to the top role, and said it could lead police to "tumble backwards".

Ms Nicholas is a victims advocate who has longed campaigned to change police culture, including being involved with training new recruits.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Haumaha apologised and expressed regret about the comments he made about Ms Nicholas.

"It is important to say outright that I take responsibility for those comments, I deeply regret them, and I unreservedly apologise for the hurt and concern they have caused," he said.

"In the 14 years since those comments, and particularly through the changes following the 2007 Commission of Inquiry, I have reflected deeply and often on what it means to live the values that New Zealanders rightly expect from their police."

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the comments were "deeply disappointing" and "unaccaptable" and he had not been aware of them. 

"I give a commitment to Louise Nicholas that police will not 'take the foot off the accelerator' in regards to ongoing efforts to improve their response to victims of offending," he said.

In 2004, Ms Nicholas publicly alleged police officers Clint Rickards, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum raped her as a teenager in the 1980s.

The officers were found not guilty in 2006. The jury had not been told Shipton and Schollum were already imprisoned on other rape charges. Rickards was forced to resign from his role.