Three decades of being 'nosey'

He's the top detective commonly landed with the trickiest and most high-profile cases, but Detective Superintendent Malcolm Burgess prefers to describe himself as "just a nosey bastard".

Made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to police over a 33-year career, Mr Burgess said: "I'm just a nosey bastard so I like to know what happened, who's done it, why they've done it, and get answers. If I can satisfy my curiosity and get some satisfaction for the victims, that's a pretty good outcome."

He oversaw the David Bain retrial and led the review of the failed investigation into the murder of twin boys Chris and Cru Kahui. Mr Burgess was also involved with the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct that was sparked after the Louise Nicholas rape allegations, and he worked on the inquiry into bribery allegations against Taito Phillip Field.

The 52-year-old said one of the strangest experiences was handling the "political dimension" while investigating the Paintergate saga in 2002, when then prime minister Helen Clark was accused of signing an artist's work and passing it off as her own for a charity auction.

He chose his words carefully: "Politicians ... they tend to approach things somewhat differently to other [people]."

Police established a prima facie forgery case against Miss Clark but decided not to prosecute.

He was pleasantly surprised at learning of his new honour.

"On a personal level it's a bit of recognition, but also for people in the police I've worked with over the past couple of years. One person gets to wear the gong but a whole lot of people put it there."

The Dominion Post