Shane Jones has gone on the attack in defence of Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha, who has come under scrutiny for his alleged bullying and comments supporting rapists.
An inquiry by Mary Scholtens QC cleared the process that led to DC Haumaha being appointed, saying that "unsubstantiated rumours and innuendo should not impede advancement".
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NZ First MP Shane Jones now says DC Haumaha has been "grossly misrepresented".
"I feel Wally Haumaha, his role, his identity has been grossly politicised," Mr Jones told Sean Plunket on RadioLIVE on Tuesday, when he stepped in for Winston Peters in his weekly slot.
"The man has just been through a report. The process that identified whether he was a suitable candidate has been found to be robust.
"I've got not a sliver of doubt that Wally Haumaha - and I can think of thousands of other Māori in New Zealand - are very proud of the role he currently undertakes and I don't think innuendo should be used to destroy."
But several women who complained about DC Haumaha say they still have concerns about him and he should not have been given the job as Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Two who have placed complaints about DC Haumaha's behaviour with the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) say their complaints about bullying have been minimised.
"In 2016 we struggled to get our complaints about Deputy Commissioner Haumaha's behaviour taken seriously. We came up against impenetrable systemic barriers.
"We want to be clear: we complained," the women wrote in a statement to Newshub.
And victims' advocate Louise Nicholas, who spoke out strongly against his appointment after it emerged he called her alleged police rape "nonsense", says she still has concerns about DC Haumaha.
"I had a number of people come to me and say that they have concerns around Wally Haumaha being in this position, but they wouldn't have an opportunity to disclose that to the inquiry," she told Newshub.
"I have always had grave reservations about him being in a top position like that."
In a previous statement, 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.
Police Minister Stuart Nash says he's not prepared to put his confidence behind DC Haumaha until the separate IPCA investigation into their claims of bullying is completed.
He said the decision on whether DC Haumaha would return to his office would be a decision for the Police Commissioner.
But Mr Jones doesn't see a problem with allowing him to return to his role.
"The media brouhaha was designed to throw him out of his job and that report says he's got every right to stay in his job."