The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that, on 5 September 2021, an Inspector from Tāmaki Makaurau personally breached the COVID-19 Health Order by taking a group of people across the border in a Police vehicle to attend a tangi. This was at a time when Tāmaki Makaurau was in Alert Level Four and in general lockdown due to community transmission of the Delta variant. The rest of the country was at Alert Level Three.
The Inspector was the District’s Māori Responsiveness Manager and considered it a part of his policing role to uphold what he saw as Crown obligations to the Māori community under te Tiriti o Waitangi in conjunction with the Police cultural value of bringing humanity to every interaction. This informed his actions. The Inspector did not gain any personal benefit from his actions.
The Authority acknowledges the tension experienced by the Inspector between his duty as a Police officer and his service to the Māori community.
However, Judge Kenneth Johnston KC noted that the Inspector “…has overstepped his role and gone beyond his authority. His actions did not uphold the Health Order and they were also not within the boundaries of the law and Police discretion. Effectively, he disregarded the law.”
The Authority considered five separate allegations against the Inspector for breaching the COVID-19 Health Order.
The Authority found that, in addition to the initial breach on 5 September 2021, the Inspector:
The Authority also considered whether the District Commander appropriately managed the allegations about the Inspector and whether the actions of the Inspector impinged on public trust and confidence in the New Zealand Police.
The Authority found that: