21 Nov 2011

Police accused of double standard over investigating complaints

9:24 pm on 21 November 2011

A travel agency whose employee stole up to $80,000 says months of police inaction is a double standard compared with the swift response to the National Party leader's complaint over a recorded conversation in a cafe.

Raynor and Ross Wilson discovered the fraud at their Wellington travel agency in June this year and despite a confession, documentation and pleas for help from eight officers - including Police Commissioner Peter Marshall - no action was taken.

However, on Friday night the police announced that an arrest of woman has been made in connection to the allegations.

Mrs Wilson says she was absolutely confused when she heard National's leader John Key saying last week that police had time to deal with his complaint regarding his conversation with ACT's Epsom candidate John Banks, thanks to lowered crime statistics.

Mr Key believes the conversation was private and the recording by a freelance cameraman was made illegally. Media organisations have been told by police they will carry out search warrants to obtain material this week.

Without a conviction, the travel agency's insurance company will not pay out and the Wilsons have had to fund the shortfall including getting a loan.

"When I read about the John Key and John Banks affair last week and they had immediate attention for a non-violent crime it was a shock to me. I've been asking numerous times for the police to do something. They're holding a written confession; I had compiled the file and they did nothing."

Mrs Wilson says some days she wonders how much more stress she can take, but she and her husband have been trying to move forward each day.

Commissioner seeks answers

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says he wants to know why Wellington police did not act sooner to investigate the woman who confessed to the fraud.

Mr Marshall told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Monday the service that the Wilsons received is unsatisfactory.

"They didn't get around to it for a whole raft of points; whether it be other priorities or other files, I don't quite know, but my focus is to say get onto it, make the inquiry."

Mr Marshall says when he referred an August letter from the Wilsons to Wellington police, he was given assurances the investigation would be undertaken and is surprised it had not been.

Wellington police did not have any information when contacted by Radio New Zealand on Monday.