Māori Council executive director Matt Tukaki says he will sue to keep Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement from the top job. Photo: Supplied

The Māori Council says it will file a Supreme Court injunction if Mike Clement is selected to be the country’s next Police Commissioner, Marc Daalder reports

In the latest development in the brouhaha surrounding the selection process for Police Commissioner Mike Bush’s replacement, Māori Council executive director Matt Tukaki says he will sue to keep Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement from the top job.

Tukaki said he had spoken with legal counsel and would file for a Supreme Court injunction if Clement is picked. “It’s worth a red hot try,” he said.

Even if Clement isn’t selected, Tukaki wants to see the entire selection process redone from scratch.

“The process of recruitment of the next Police Commissioner has been flawed from the beginning and my message to [Police Minister Stuart Nash] is that we will walk into the Supreme Court of New Zealand as the Māori Council and we will injunct Mr. Clement’s appointment if that is what has come to pass,” he said.

Clement was the frontrunner for the spot until Wednesday, when Newshub reported that he was under investigation by the Independent Police Conduct Authority for allegedly interfering with the appointment of a top police official last year.

Then the New Zealand Herald revealed further details about the allegations: Clement reportedly stepped in to oppose the appointment of Hamish McCardle to a plum police role in Hong Kong less than twelve months after McCardle was demoted in relation to allegations of inappropriate sexual comments.

Now, Tukaki says he’s coming at Clement from a different angle entirely: the official’s work on Police-Māori relations. Tukaki alleges Clement smeared Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha during Haumaha’s own scandal, including by speaking to reporters at the Herald and sexual assault victims advocate Louise Nicholas.

Tukaki also criticised Clement’s handling of the situation at Ihumātao and said the Deputy Commissioner received undue credit for his work after the Whakaari/White Island eruption in December.

“This is the Deputy Police Commissioner that apparently is going to be the fix-it man for the degradation of relations between Iwi Māori and the New Zealand Police,” Tukaki said.

“The New Zealand Police have a long way to go when it comes to their engagement with Māori, who are the largest consumer of the police system, both internally and externally.”

Spokespeople for Nash and the police referred Newsroom to the State Services Commission, which has managed the selection process. Newsroom has asked the SSC for comment.

Marc Daalder is a senior political reporter based in Wellington who covers climate change, health, energy and violent extremism. Twitter/Bluesky: @marcdaalder

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