11 Jun 2012

New IPCA chair not planning big changes

8:12 pm on 11 June 2012

The new chairperson of the Independent Police Conduct Authority says it would be extraordinarily arrogant of him to make sweeping changes when he takes the reins at the watchdog.

Judge Sir David Carruthers was formally welcomed to the authority on Monday morning after seven years heading the Parole Board.

He has been appointed for a five-year term and replaces Justice Lowell Goddard, QC, whose term has ended.

Sir David led the Parole Board through one of its most turbulent periods when murderer Graeme Burton went on a high-profile rampage while on parole in 2007.

He says the fallout from the case proved the biggest challenge of his tenure and led to major changes, including better monitoring of parolees.

As for his new role at the IPCA, Sir David says he does not have a similarly large overhaul in mind at this point.

"That would be extraordinarily arrogant of me to say that. I'm going to listen for quite a while and find out what people are doing and then we'll try and do things together as a team, because it looks like a very strong team to me."

Sir David says one of his most pressing tasks is dealing with the highly-anticipated report into the Urewera raids case.

That's another thing which is obviously is going to preoccupy me and this authority for some time. It's a big one and I'm very, very keen that we should get on with it and finish it quickly, but well and fairly. It's gone on for a very long time now."

He says he sincerely hopes the Urewera raids report will be released this year.

Sir David Carruthers is a former Chief District Court judge and former Principal Youth Court judge. He was appointed a District Court Judge in 1985 and has been chairperson of the New Zealand Parole Board since 2005.