The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has found Counties Manukau police did not intend to give Māori drivers preferential treatment when it launched an action plan involving unlicensed drivers last year.
When it was reported officers had been told not to ticket unlicensed Māori drivers, there were complaints the plan was racist and discriminatory.
The plan stated all Māori caught driving in breach of their licence conditions should be "given compliance" and granted time to fix the problem instead of being fined.
The authority has found that part of the plan was poorly written and not appropriate.
However, it said it did not believe this reflected the plan's intention or application, and it was not discriminatory.
Nor did it amount to misconduct or neglect of duty by individual officers.
IPCA chair Sir David Carruthers said the investigation found that, although it was intended the policy be applied at a police officer's individual discretion, regardless of race, the wording of the action plan was not appropriate as it contradicted this intention.
"The poorly written action plan did not override the fact that traffic compliance is available to any driver, regardless of race."
Counties Manukau police have since amended the policy's wording.