Commissioner, Executive and District Commanders

The chief executive of Police is known as the Commissioner and is appointed by the Governor General. Mike Bush (MNZM) is the current Commissioner of New Zealand Police. The Commissioner of Police is accountable to the Minister of Police for the administration of police services, but acts independently in carrying out law enforcement decisions.

Nationally we have 12 districts, which are administered from Police National Headquarters in Wellington, and a number of national service centres that provide administrative and specialised support, such as forensic services.

Each of the 12 districts have a District Commander and a team of Area Commanders who manage the day-to-day operations. You can find a list of these commanders on the district pages.

  • Commissioner of Police

    Mike Bush MNZM

    Mike Bush has been the Commissioner of New Zealand Police since April 2014. He was initially appointed for a three year term and was last year reappointed until 2020.

    Mike joined Police in 1978 and has held a range of high-profile national and international posts.

    As Commissioner, he has taken a highly visible leadership role around work to improve Police’s diversity, inclusiveness and overall culture. This has included adding Empathy and Valuing Diversity to Police’s core values and continuing Police’s efforts to make the cultural changes required following the 2007 Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct.

    As well as being a Champion for Change for Global Women and supporting the recruitment, development and retention of female staff, Mike is a White Ribbon Ambassador and is committed to addressing the harm caused in our communities by family violence.

    Mike led NZ Police’s Policing Excellence change transformation programme and the successful implementation of the Prevention First operating model, which received the Prime Minister’s IPANZ award for public sector excellence in 2014.

    At the time of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Mike was New Zealand Police’s Liaison Officer for South East Asia, based in Bangkok. He was the first New Zealand official on the scene at the devastated Phuket, and was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for his work following the disaster.

    Mike Bush MNZM (Commissioner of Police)
  • Deputy Commissioner District Operations

    Viv Rickard

    Viv Rickard was appointed to his current role in April 2014 after more than 28 years in Police. Previously he was Deputy Commissioner Resource Management, Assistant Commissioner Operations and Assistant Commissioner Crime and Investigations. Other roles have included five years as district commander in Northland and two years as district commander in Waitematä.

    He is of Te Arawa, Ngati Whare and Ngati Porou descent.

    Viv Rickard
  • Deputy Commissioner National Operations

    Mike Clement

    Mike Clement was appointed Deputy Commissioner National Operations in October 2014.

    Mike joined Police in 1978 as a cadet and has held a range of roles including Auckland City District Commander and Bay of Plenty Area Commander. Previous CIB roles include working in the undercover programme and on major investigations. He was a member of the Operation Austin team established to investigate historical sexual allegations against former and serving police officers.

    Mike also helped establish the Crime Monitoring Centre in 2015, a centralised interception facility for all of New Zealand Police, moving from an analogue to a digital platform.

    He has served in various overseas roles including with the United Nations in Jamaica, a homicide investigation in the Solomon Islands, and capacity-building in the Pacific.

    Mike Clement
  • Deputy Commissioner Resource Management

    Audrey Sonerson

    Audrey took up her position in October 2016.

    She has oversight of the Royal New Zealand Police College, Police Professional Conduct, Risk and Assurance, Infrastructure, Information and Communications Technology Service Centre, Legal Services and Organisational Security Groups.

    Before this Audrey was Deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Justice, where she was responsible for the day to day operation of the Ministry and assisting the Chief Executive and the Strategic Leadership Team to deliver modern, accessible, people-centred justice services.

    She has worked in a range of government departments, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and for almost 10 years at The Treasury. Audrey has also previously worked as a consultant for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.Audrey has a Masters degree with first class honours in Economics and undergraduate degrees in Economics and Statistics, Politics and Operations Research.

    Audrey Sonerson
  • Deputy Chief Executive Public Affairs

    Karen Jones

    Karen joined Police in 2013. She is Police's principal adviser on communications matters internally and externally and is also Chair of Police’s Senior Leadership governance group.

    In 2016 Karen was seconded to the Ministry for Women as Acting Chief Executive and in 2017 as Acting Chief Operating Officer at The Treasury.

    Karen manages a national team providing media relations, stakeholder relations, recruitment marketing, social media and internal communications, as well as overseeing the Police Museum.

    Before joining Police, Karen was Head of Communications and Government Relations for NZ Lotteries, a senior executive-level position she held since 2007. Previous roles include five years as Communications Manager for the State Services Commission, and a number of senior advisory roles in private and public sector organisations.

    Karen has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Victoria University.

    Karen Jones (Deputy Chief Executive Public Affairs)
  • Deputy Chief Executive People

    Kaye Ryan

    Kaye began her career with Police in 1991 and was appointed to her Deputy Chief Executive role in 2015. She is Police’s principal adviser on People matters.

    Kaye has worked in a number of roles and locations during her 26 years with Police, including the Central Communications Centre and the Kapiti Watchhouse, before moving to Police National Headquarters where she has held a variety of positions and leadership roles within the Human Resources/People group.

    Kaye has a Bachelor of Commerce from Victoria University.

    Kaye Ryan
  • Deputy Chief Executive Finance

    John Bole

    The Deputy Chief Executive Finance has responsibility for the finance function, which entails the management of $1.6 billion operating expenditure and $100 million capital expenditure.

    John has an extensive career in senior finance roles, including being Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Corrections, Chief Financial Officer and General Manager Retail of Contact Energy, Group Manager Finance for the Airways Corporation and Manager Financial Operations for Telecom New Zealand.

    John joined Police in June 2011.

    John Bole (Deputy Chief Executive Finance)
  • Deputy Chief Executive Maori

    Deputy Chief Executive/Assistant Commissioner Wallace Haumaha QSM

    Deputy Chief Executive Māori/Assistant Commissioner Wally Haumaha has extensive experience in strategic, operational and tactical policing, relating to the prevention of offending and victimisation of Māori, Pacific & Ethnic people.

    He has a proven track record of producing extraordinary results, acknowledged with the Queens Service Medal in 1998 for services to the community while a member of the Criminal Investigation Branch, and Officer in Charge of Community Policing. He was awarded the Police Commissioner’s Commendation for establishing the first Memorandum of Understanding between Police and 14 major Iwi groups in Bay of Plenty District in 2000 - an historic and significant event which marked the beginning of a relationship and partnership model that is now embedded into the structure of policing.

    He was also awarded a Commissioner’s Commendation for dedication to duty and leading the largest Māori protest Hïkoi in history - from Northland to Wellington - without incident or arrest. As a consequence, he secured the lasting trust and confidence of Māori activists, a relationship that has had a significant impact on the management of Waitangi Day at Te Tii Marae since 2004.

    Wally’s work has been widely recognised, locally and internationally, for engaging with diverse communities, in particular the Muslim community. He has been awarded prizes for innovation by the Institute of Public Administration of NZ and has seen Police named top public sector agency for Super Diversity. He continues to lead the development of major policy programmes such as The Turning of the Tide Whanau Ora Strategy, The Justice Sector Māori Outcomes Strategy, Iwi Justice Panels, the National Sponsor for Alternate Resolutions, the Ethnic & Pacific Peoples Strategy and National Māori Wardens Project.

    He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

    Deputy Chief Executive/Assistant Commissioner Wallace Haumaha QSM
  • Deputy Chief Executive Strategy

    R. Mark Evans OBE

    Mark has been Deputy Chief Executive Strategy since June 2014. He is responsible for ensuring Police has a clear and well understood strategic direction and delivers on its strategic priorities.

    Mark leads and directs several key portfolios including Mobility and Innovation, the Enterprise Portfolio Management Office, research and evaluation, policy and performance and ministerial services. He maintains oversight of Police’s transformation programme - The Safest Country – Policing 2021 – through the Strategy and Transformation portfolio.

    A member of the Police Executive since June 2011, Mark was previously Executive Director Prevention. Before coming to New Zealand in 2007, he was the Director of Analytical Services for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

    Mark earned an OBE for services to policing in 2006. He is a frequent contributor to international intelligence teaching and training.

    R. Mark Evans OBE
  • Assistant Commissioner: Response and Operations

    Mike Rusbatch

    The Assistant Commissioner Response and Operations is responsible for the Response and Operations Group, Communication Centres and Prosecutions.

    Mike Rusbatch was appointed in 2013 after serving as District Commander Wellington. He joined Police in 1982 and has held roles including District Commander Northland; Executive Officer, Domestic and External Security Group, DPMC; Area Commander and Policing Development Manager. He has worked in Wellington, Counties Manukau and Northland districts.

    He was deployed to Timor-Leste and has been a member of the Anti-Terrorist Squad and a District AOS Commander. Mike holds a Bachelor of Business Studies.

    Mike Rusbatch
  • Assistant Commissioner: Road Policing and Prevention

    Sandra Venables

    Sandra joined Police in 1994 and worked in a number of frontline policing roles in metropolitan and rural areas in Waikato and Northland districts, including Hamilton City, Hamilton East, Kaitaia and the Coromandel Peninsula.

    She was Northland Family Violence Coordinator and sub-Area Manager for Thames Coromandel before being promoted to Inspector in 2010 and moving to Whakatāne as Area Commander Eastern Bay of Plenty.

    During this time she also relieved as Policing Development Manager and Road Policing Manager in Northland, Deployment Manager in Hamilton and National Manager for Police Conduct at Police National Headquarters in Wellington.

    In 2014 she was promoted to Superintendent and moved to Eastern District as District Commander, just the second woman to be given a District Command role.

    In the same year she was deployed to Turkey as a Security Liaison officer for the Gallipoli commemorations, which she counts as a career highlight.

    In taking her current role in 2017, Sandra became the first female officer promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner.

    AC Sandra Venables
  • Assistant Commissioner: Chief Information Officer

    Jevon McSkimming

    Assistant Commissioner Jevon McSkimming, is responsible for delivery of Police’s ICT environment. Before this he was Director Mobility and Innovation, where he oversaw the award-winning Mobility Programme.

    Jevon joined Police in 1996 after completing his studies in 1995. He has led substantial change management in large, complex departments and has delivered results and cost savings across Police.

    Starting his career in Auckland, he completed front-line, Communications and Maritime roles before shifting to the far south where he took on a range of challenges as a rural and provincial sole charge officer.

    An opportunity to re-write rural officers’ work terms and conditions saw him move to Wellington, followed by transfer to the Royal New Zealand Police College to run the promotion courses for Sergeant and Senior Sergeant ranks. As Deployment Manager for Wellington District, Jevon and his team played a key role in the model and process design for the New Zealand Police Prevention First Strategy.

    With a young family to support, Jevon's love of racing motorbikes has taken a break but he is still a keen glider pilot.

    Jevon McSkimming
  • Assistant Commissioner: Districts

    Bill Searle

    Bill joined New Zealand Police in October 1982 and has worked in various operational and supervisory roles in General Duties (GDB) and Criminal Investigation (CIB) in Auckland.

    In 2001 Bill started as the Policing Development Manager in Hamilton before being promoted to Superintendent in 2005 and transferring to Wellington to undertake the role as the staff officer to the Deputy Commissioner of Resource Management at Police National Headquarters.

    In 2007 Bill was appointed to a new role as the National Manager of Community Policing, then in 2008 made the move back to the Auckland area as the District Commander of Waitematā District.

    In September 2016 he was promoted to the role of Assistant Commissioner Prevention based in Police National Headquarters.

    Bill has a Bachelor of Business Studies degree, majoring in human resource management. He also has a postgraduate certificate in Executive Leadership through the Australian Institute of Police Management.

    Bill Searle (Assistant Commissioner: Districts)
  • Assistant Commissioner: Investigations

    Richard Chambers

    Richard Chambers has served in New Zealand Police since 1996, starting his policing career as a Constable in Avondale, Auckland.

    Richard has held a wide range of frontline roles and is a qualified detective. He also holds an Executive Masters in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Commerce.

    One of Richard’s career highlights was leading the project that introduced mobile devices to frontline staff. This important shift in technology has enabled Police to spend more time in the community, carrying out a wide range of tasks without needing to head back to the station.

    Through Richard’s policing career he has worked throughout New Zealand. His experience includes working as District Commander in Wellington, Tasman, Southern and Auckland City districts. In Auckland he led local policing of Trans-Pacific Partnership discussions and US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the city.

    Richard has particularly enjoyed working alongside very talented, motivated and professional people throughout New Zealand Police.

    Richard Chambers - Assistant Commissioner: Investigations
  • Assistant Commissioner: International and National Security

    Michael Pannett MNZM

    Mike was appointed to his position in September 2016, based in Police National Headquarters, Wellington. He was previously the Southern District Commander based in Dunedin, and before that was the New Zealand Police Liaison Officer to the United States of America, Canada, Central and South America, based in the New Zealand Embassy, Washington DC.

    Between 2011 and 2015 Mike was a member of the International Chiefs of Police (IACP) Committee on Terrorism, Committee on Organised Crime and International Policing Division Steering Committee (Advisory Committee). In 2013, 2014 and 2015 Mike was the International Judge on the selection panel of the IACP International Police Officer of the Year. Mike was formally the Chairperson of the Washington DC Liaison Officers Association. In August 2014 Mike completed the Senior Executives in National and International Security Program at Harvard University, John F Kennedy School of Government.

    Between 2009 and 2011 Mike was the Manager Intelligence Operations (Deputy Director Intelligence) for New Zealand Police. In this role he was responsible for the management of the Police National Intelligence Centre and facilitating intelligence led operational activities.

    Mike has played significant roles in wide variety of international, national and district crime operations during his 36-year career, including being recognised for more than 25 years’ service to New Zealand Police's largest annual operational event, Operation Waitangi.

    In 2010 Mike was recognised by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his services to New Zealand Police when he was invested as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM). A significant part of this recognition related to Mike's 25 years’ experience in the investigation of serious and organised crime, national security and intelligence.

    Michael Pannett
  • Assistant Commissioner: Districts

    John Tims

    John Tims joined Police on 24 September 1984. After graduating from the Royal New Zealand Police College he was transferred to Otahuhu Police Station, which was then known as the Southern District of Auckland.

    John joined the Criminal Investigation Branch in 1987. He worked across all ranks in the CIB and uniform branch but specialised in investigations for 22 years. This included investigating a range of offences, from sexual offending and aggravated robbery to homicides.

    In his role as Counties Manukau District Manager of Investigations, he was responsible for the strategic and operational direction of serious and volume crime investigations within the District. He had responsibility for Crime Services including the Major Crime Team, Organised Crime Team, Financial Investigation Unit, Source Handling Unit and the 24/7 Crime Squad. He also had responsibility for the Case Management Group, which included the File Management Centre, Public Counter, Investigation Support Unit, Records, SOCOs and CSAs.

    A career highlight for John was the development and opening of the Multi Agency Centre, Te Pou Herenga Waka. This centre was designed to take a multi-agency approach, using partnerships to provide a first-class service to child and adult victims of sexual abuse.

    In November 2011 John was promoted to District Commander for Counties Manukau, the largest Police district within New Zealand.

    New Zealand Police’s national operating strategy is Prevention First, which places prevention at the forefront of policing and was developed and piloted in Counties Manukau. Prevention First is a priority for John and NZ Police.

    John was promoted to Assistant Commissioner in June 2017.

    Assistant Commissioner John Tims
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