The Prime Minister's chief press secretary is refusing to return messages, and the Police Minister's promised statement on Howard Broad has failed to materialize, as the government battens down hatches in the face of serious new revelations about the activities of Police Commissioner Howard Broad.
Investigate magazine will shortly be releasing damning new material on Broad, that sources within Police National Headquarters say is likely to end the Police Commissioner's career.
The allegations are not trivial, and involve a serious offence that ordinary members of the public are always arrested for.
On Wednesday last week, Investigate provided a series of questions to the Prime Minister's chief press secretary, Kathryn Street. Although we received electronic confirmation of email delivery, Street has so far refused to answer the questions or return phone calls.
However, Police National Headquarters has confirmed that the PM's Office had raised our allegations with Broad:
"In response to request for comment from the Commissioner:
Mr Broad is aware of the questions you have asked the Prime Minister's
Office. Given that course of action the Commissioner considers it is now
appropriate for you to await answers from the PM's Office rather than for direct commentary to be provided by him.
Manager Media Relations
Police National Headquarters"
However, the PM's office is hoping to keep a lid on it by refusing to comment. Likewise the office of Police Minister Annette King which, despite promising to make a statement on Monday, has stayed silent and is refusing to answer further questions either.
Howard Broad has left the country, and National Headquarters staff have told Investigate there is growing speculation that Broad will not be returning to his job.
Investigate magazine is pushing for a full Royal Commission of Inquiry into the New Zealand Police, after successfully identifying and naming officers involved in corrupt practices, and publishing details in the magazine's last two issues.
The Police, meanwhile, have been stalling in providing answers to an Official Information Request last month. This week, however, Police spokeswoman Jane Archibald grudgingly confirmed that police had access to bestiality movies at Police College, and that hardcore pornography had routinely been screened in the control room at the Wellington Police Station during late shifts where police officers were required to take calls from victims of sexual attacks as part of the 111 service.
"The screening of porn or bestiality movies has never been part of the curriculum of the Police College. Anecdotal comment suggests that pornographic film material may have been screened as part of operational familiarisation training by guest presenters from the then Vice or similar crime squads," wrote Archibald to Investigate.
"Anecdotal comment also suggests that pornographic movies may have been shown on occasion late at night in the Wellington Central Police Station some years ago.
"There are no records of Police Commissioner Howard Broad ever being drunk on police premises."
It is the answer to the final question that is especially interesting, as our question to police was, has Howard Broad ever been drunk on police premises? We did not ask if records existed.
We reminded Police NHQ that they had a duty under the Official Information Act to provide true information about ALL information, not just records, being sought:
"Further to my email this morning re my Official Information Request on Howard Broad being drunk on police premises, I thought I would save the taxpayer money and time by retrieving the Ombudsman's established position on the definition of Official Information.
It would be a wasteful use of taxpayer resources if I was indeed forced to bring the Ombudsman formally into this situation merely for him to state the obvious, which is:
the fact that information has
not yet been reduced to writing does not mean that it
does not exist and is not "held" for the purposes of
requests under the official information legislation.
In these circumstances, if the official information
legislation were to apply only to information held in
documentary form, the purposes of the legislation
could be easily frustrated.
The Crown Law Office has closely considered our
approach to this issue recently and expressed
agreement with it.
SOURCE: Ombudsmens Quarterly Review, Vol 4 Issue 3, 1998, penned by Brian Elwood and Anand Satyanand.
To save time, please can you ensure, as requested, that Mr Broad answers my specific questions as previously set out."
So far, the police have failed to respond.