Winston Peters criticised over rape case comments

A woman who was pack-raped by four men says she's furious at the Acting Prime Minister's comments regarding the controversy over Deputy Police Commissioner, Wally Haumaha.

Winston Peters suggested Mr Haumaha was in fact partially correct when he said Louise Nicholas's allegations were "a nonsense".

In 1989 a woman who we can't identify, was lured to a lifeguard tower at Mt Mauganui then handcuffed and raped by four men. Two of them were police officers, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum.

"My brain tells me every day that it happened yesterday, so I have to work really hard to maintain the things that I have learnt to stay strong," the woman told Newshub.

The two officers, along with Clint Rickards were also accused of raping Louise Nicholas. All three were cleared in that case.

The jury was unaware Shipton and Schollum were already behind bars for raping the complainant in the 1989 case.

The Herald revealed the recently-appointed Assistant Police Commissioner Haumaha told colleagues in 2004 the allegations made by Louise Nicholas were "a nonsense".

But here's the problem - at his weekly press conference the Acting Prime Minister agreed there was some truth to that.

"Clearly on two people he was decisively wrong. But on the third person, who took the matter to Court, he could be construed as being right," Mr Peters said.

The explanation was then repeated on radio.

"Two were convicted but the third one was not, so to the extent.  But the third one he was obviously correct," Mr Peters said on Newstalk ZB.

Mr Peters is technically correct - Clint Rickards was never convicted despite facing two separate allegations.

But the rape survivor is very unhappy. She says the statement gives the perception he supports Mr Haumaha's views and that's inappropriate especially as there's an inquiry underway.

"Absolutely furious. Gutted that our Acting Prime Minister could say something so irresponsible," she says.

"He had no right to make that statement... effectively what he has done is undermine Operation Austin… years and years of hard work."

Operation Austin uncovered serious misconduct issues and found police turned a "blind eye" to inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Mr Peters is no longer keen to discuss his views.

Newshub asked the Acting Prime Minister whether he thought it was wise to wade into the issue with his opinion.

He says he does not want to comment further until the inquiry is complete and the Government has a full understanding of the facts.

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