16 Jun 2013

Mallard stands by questioning of top officer

10:48 am on 16 June 2013

Labour MP Trevor Mallard says he doesn't agree that remarks made by the one of the country's top officers at a funeral should be regarded as being in private.

At a heated hearing of parliament's law and order select committee Mr Mallard pressed Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Bush about his eulogy for a disgraced officer who led the Crewe murder inquiry.

Bruce Hutton was found to have planted evidence that led to the wrongful conviction of Arthur Allan Thomas for the 1970 Crewe murders.

At the funeral for Mr Hutton in April, Mr Bush told mourners the officer had integrity beyond reproach.

At the select committee on Wednesday, Mr Mallard pushed Mr Bush to explain the eulogy and said MPs were deciding whether to continue his salary, before storming out of the hearing after having further questions blocked by National MPs.

The Deputy Police Commissioner later told reporters his words at the funeral were for the Hutton family - not for the public.

Mr Mallard told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Thursday that the doors to the funeral were open and reporters were present, making the service clearly a public affair.

He says in that situation, where there are a lot of people present, a private conversation should not be expected.

Mr Mallard said the eulogy showed a severe lack of judgment and is a black mark on Mr Bush's career.