Outgoing Police Commissioner Howard Broad says a new report critical of police management fails to highlight people speaking well of the police force.
The report reviewed changes made after rape accusations against officers triggered a Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct in 2007.
The review says senior managers fail to take bold action to show poor performance will not be tolerated and that quality of management varies tremendously.
However, Mr Broad says the report has concentrated so much on negative aspects it looks "like a huge slapping".
He says that although the report is intended to propel the police force forward, it could have the opposite effect.
Mr Broad's term of office ends in April. Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope on Wednesday announced he intends to resign.
Report authors 'don't understand police'
The Police Association says there has been considerable change in the police force despite a report pointing to a failure to make progress on the negative work culture.
Association president Greg O'Connor says the authors of the report had a narrow focus, without the broad understanding of what policing is about.
He told Summer Report that a lot of the criticism comes from people who blame their gender or race for not advancing, when often it is their own incompetence that has prevented them from rising in the organisation.
Mr O'Connor said there has to be a balance between change and better policing.
More needs to be done - minister
Police Minister Judith Collins told Summer Report that progress has been made but more needs to be done, particularly in terms of those who are not performing.
Ms Collins said she will be looking at who is available for the deputy's role.