BREAKING: IPCA finds Police repeatedly broke the law while investigating RawShark


Nicky Hager welcomes today’s Independent Police Conduct Authority report upholding a complaint by the Green Party.

The complaint was into the Police’s handling of an investigation into RawShark, one of Mr Hager’s confidential informants and the principal source for his book Dirty Politics. The report concluded that there were multiple breaches of the law by Police.

Nicky Hager is pleased to receive further vindication of the position he took when he sued Police in 2014, “Again, an independent investigation has found extensive evidence of many unlawful acts by Police,” he said. “I hope these findings will further strengthen the protection for journalists in the future.”

The High Court previously found that Police had breached the duty of candour when applying for a warrant to search Mr Hager’s home. The IPCA further found that the warrant application lacked reasonable grounds and was too broad. It also found that Police failed to give Mr Hager an adequate opportunity to claim privilege, then breached that privilege, seized too much and in a non-selective way, and unlawfully conducted investigations based on what was found. The IPCA also found similar breaches in relation to various efforts by Police to obtain Mr Hager’s information from third parties.

However, Mr Hager believes that the IPCA report is disappointing for what it does not say. So far, there have been no recommendations of any consequences for the many breaches of law by Police.

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The report found that some breaches of the law were caused by faulty legal advice and faulty procedures. Felix Geiringer, a barrister acting for Mr Hager, explains why that is not a complete answer to the issues raised by the report, “Of the many breaches of law by Police identified in the report, really only one or two have anything to do with faulty legal advice or the procedures at the time,” he said. “Indeed, some breaches appear to be police officers acting against legal advice and breaching police procedure even as it stood back then.

“Even for those few issues where this excuse is relevant, it is not a final answer. Our understanding is that the faulty legal advice came from internal police advisors. In other words, police were advising themselves to break the law and then following that advice. That is something that needs to be followed up to ensure it does not happen again.”

Mr Hager was also hoping for more from the IPCA. “I am disappointed that the report has not looked into the behaviour of Police after I brought my claim,” he said. “That was something I asked them to look into.”

The report shows that Police now admit many unlawful acts. However, that was not always the case. “For a long time they denied them, including to the High Court under oath,” Mr Geiringer explains. “They also withheld documents that provided evidence of those breaches and made untrue statements about what was in those documents and why they were being withheld. That is very troubling and something I would expect to have been of concern to the IPCA.”

So, while Mr Hager welcomes the many damning findings against Police, he wants to know what is going to happen now and what, if any, consequences there will be.


  1. So what is the punishment a slap on the hand a waste of time they need to be punished properly as this bad behaviour this is clear breach/abuse of police powers

    • It’s ok Michelle – the police stuff-up was as follows: “The police watchdog said the 2014 raid instead resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty.”

      It was a witless wrong, therefore it was not wrong at all. (This is worse than the Jesuits.) They didn’t know what they were doing.

      So here’s a nice cosy precedent if we’re caught out breaking the law, it was done from “an unwitting neglect of duty.” Try that on a traffic offence. I shall memorise the phrase.

      The unacceptable thing, is that ignorance of the law is no defence for breaking the law, and yet here, in 21stC New Zealand, the IPCA is now saying that it is. Simply not good enough.

  2. All actions have consequences. But not for NZ Police in this instance, or so it seems.

    Regular TDB blogger RM would be interested in this issue. I highly recommend his latest book.

  3. NZ Police: “The law is whatever we say it is. Also, due process doesn’t apply to dirty left-wing agitators. Safer communities together!”

  4. PM John Key was reported as being ” incandescent with rage,” when ‘Dirty Politics’ hit the shops. Anger-challenged public figures, are usually adept at hiding negative aspects of their personalities , but it looks as if John couldn’t or didn’t. Going to the police about the Teapot Tapes seemed an over-reaction to a fairly paltry event, and vindictive.

    ‘Dirty Politics’ clearly triggered a maelstrom of emotions among the dirty players Nicky Hager exposed, plus I think that Whaleoil complained of his hacking to the police in Manurewa, thus bringing in another layer of his possible connections with Nat bigwigs to add to the mix, and it appears that these local Sth Auckland cops and lawyer(s) misorganised the whole dreadful saga; Slater alone could appear quite intimidating.

    The police really do need to be answerable for breaking the law – there could be a reason.

    At that particular time, Nicky Hager was being presented to the media by John Key as a disreputable person – a ‘conspiracy theorist’, and the adoring media were largely lapping it up, and John Key, recipient of advice from costly Aus PR people, succeeded in convincing the public, and possibly the police, that Hager was bad, and it is the cops’ job to go after bad. They had quite a lineup of powerful people putting the wrong boots on the wrong feet, and stuffed up with both Hager and Martyn Bradbury.

    The ‘Scoop’ report reads slightly differently from here, and says that police processes have been changed to avoid such things re-occurring – a slight improvement on the Wellington Regional Council implying that they would bugger up the Wgtn buses in exactly the same way again.

    • How could Key be incessant with rage, he never read the book.

      Key is not as squeaky clean as most New Zealanders think, 55% of the population fell in love with him, many still are ?

      • Ngungukai – They don’t read the books on purpose – it gives them an “out” when the facts come seeping out later on – like if Bill English had actually read ‘Hit & Run’ – he couldn’t have just waltzed off and relaxed at a pop concert – or maybe Bill English could, but I couldn’t. They rely on their underlings and minions.

        Someone in Key’s office, maybe the dirty tricks maestro, would have read ‘Dirty Politics’ and – quite rightly- had a meltdown, and told Key that all was discovered – and chances are all hadn’t been discovered anyway. But that’s the context Hager’s and Bradbury’s subsequent police muddlings have to be placed in.

        I always thought Key a creep, and if 55% of the population loved him, then I guess that adds weight to my personal theory that we’re a genetically damaged bunch of people. It can take two or three generations to work through this sort of damage, but hopefully our great grandchildren will be less blinkered. Or great great grandchildren.

    • G.A.P. Not a redefinition of a major tenet of common law, or some character toddling off to the Wellington Club assuming that his platitudes are rational.

    • I’m sure they’re all having a jolly good chortle about being allowed to investigate themselves, and then concluding they did nothing wrong, or at best, the wrong was “unwitting” and therefore worth a feeble reprimand and nothing more. Putting the fox in charge of the hen-house never works out well for the hens, but the foxes believe it’s entirely fair and reasonable.

  5. So no repercussions for police breaking the law?

    Do i still have to pay my speeding ticket?

    We’re truly one step away from a police state. If there was no oversight of the police and their dubious activities, all notions of civil rights would vanish overnight

    That is where we are now folks. ONE STEP away from a fully fledged police state

    The police should not be allowed anywhere near journalists. Instrad They should stick to right wing bloggers who *do* break the law and attempt to harm peoples lives

  6. Cops investigate themselves–no worries Maayte!

    At least Nicky Hager has had some recompense and vindication. Our glorious ex leader Key’s prints are all over this, and that seems a major reason for the Secret Trial of Martyn Bradbury, protect SirKey at all costs.

  7. So, the High Court found that the cops breached the duty of candour when they applied for the search warrant for Nicky Hager’s home but the IPCA effectively overruled the High Court when it concluded that this breach was nothing more than an “unwitting neglect of duty”.

    The definition of candour is the quality of being open and honest – which the cops were not when they deliberately did not inform the judge who issued the search warrant that Mr Hager was a journalist even though they knew this. Their conduct was not an unwitting neglect of duty – it was deliberate and deceptive but not so in the eyes of the IPCA made up of retired old cops who refuse to rule that senior cops have acted unlawfully.

    So much for the rule of law and justice in this country.

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