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Pauline Kingi steps down over LinkedIn endorsements

Dr. Pauline Kingi has stepped down as the chair of the inquiry into the appointment of Wally Haumaha as Deputy Chief Police Commissioner.

Haumaha’s appointment has been mired in controversy since it emerged he had a close relationship with the police officers accused of raping Bay of Plenty woman, Louise Nicholas when she was a teenager. Two of the officers, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum, were later convicted of the rape of a Mount Maunganui woman. 

The appointment was also controversial as Haumaha had once been selected to stand for New Zealand First, although he withdrew his candidacy before he ran.

The appointment of Kingi, a prominent Māori lawyer and community leader, was announced on July 23.

But it emerged on Tuesday that Kingi had endorsed Haumaha 23 times on the social networking site, LinkedIn. The endorsements from an account in the name of Kingi endorsed Haumaha's skills in 23 areas, including leadership, public sector and public safety.

The inquiry was scheduled to begin next week.

Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced Kingi’s resignation in the debating chamber today, saying she had been made aware of it shortly before Parliamentary Question Time. 

"Ever since she has been appointed to the role she has been the subject of political attack. Those have been attacks on her integrity, on her reputation and even attacks on her legal qualification," Martin said.

"Dr Kingi has a 28 year career as both a community member, senior public servant and as a lawyer.

"The Government has accepted her resignation and will commence the process to find a replacement."

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