Commissioner comment on historic drink drive conviction

Commissioner comment on historic drink drive conviction

Commissioner Mike Bush

Nga mihi. I am using today’s blog to make you aware of a response I have provided to the media that is likely to receive some attention, and to give you some background and context to that information.

New Zealand Police was recently asked by media whether I have any convictions. I have replied today saying that while Police is not permitted to pass on details covered by the Clean Slate Act to a third party, I am waiving my right, to disclose a conviction for drink-driving.

The incident happened 34 years ago while I was an off-duty detective constable in Auckland in 1983.  I was 23 years old at the time and had been in Police for 5 years.  I pleaded guilty and was convicted. I received a $250 fine and was disqualified from driving for six months.

I didn’t lose my job at the time because it wasn’t until 1991– eight years after it happened – that the then Commissioner of Police made it clear that subsequent drink-drive convictions for a police officer could place their career in jeopardy.

It was extremely poor judgement by me 34 years ago, for which I am sorry.  I make no excuses. It is something I deeply regret and have reflected on ever since.   

My name and occupation were reported in an Auckland newspaper at the time, as was standard for drink-driving cases back then. Many of my colleagues and friends are aware of it, and it was disclosed to the State Services Commission as part of the process for appointing me Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner. I have always been prepared to talk about it if asked.

There has been a significant change to New Zealand’s attitude and culture regarding drink-driving in the past 34 years, and Police has had a big part to play in driving that change.  Alcohol plays a significant role in death and injury on our roads, and I am personally committed to doing all I can to prevent the harm it causes.


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