Police are still struggling to shake off the worst aspects of their culture, dating back to the eighties, the deputy Auditor-General says.
Phillippa Smith's progress report on police conduct has identified some recommendations from a 2007 review still need to be addressed, such as dealing with complaints against officers and improving services for victims of sexual assault.
She says the culture within the police also still needs improvement, after the behaviour of officers was criticised five years ago.
"There is still an unacceptable, although low, level of inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature, harassment, some staff being reluctant to report wrongdoing because of the perceived way colleagues were treated when they did, and slow change in the gender and ethnic composition of the Police," she said.
Acting Police Commissioner Viv Rickard told TV ONE's Breakfast the force has made "significant progress" since the first report was published.
"The 2007 report was about police behaviour in the eighties and the New Zealand police has made significant progress," he said.
"The (progress) report highlights that and in particular it talks about the work we've done internally with women in policing, the progress they've made and the significant focus we've put in that area."
Rickard said there is still more work to be done in this area. He said he wanted to see more women taking senior roles within the police, and reaching senior ranks through their own merit.
He said the necessary changes require a shift in culture and could take some time to happen.
"We accept there are some things that happened in the eighties that we don't want as an organisation, but we've changed our focus, we want a real focus on prevention and victims that's actually a cultural change in itself," he said.
"People have traditionally joined the police for excitement and action and we're trying to reposition our organisation on what we think is really important."
Smith's report also highlights an early intervention system, which would warn police about inappropriate behaviour by officers, is not yet operating.
Rickard said the 2007 report made many recommendations and they are being tackled as part of an overall 10-year strategy.
"With the plan in terms of how we were going to roll out the 48 recommendations, we always indicated that early intervention was going to be put in place by December 2012 that's still the intention," he said.
The Police Association says the required changes detailed are expensive and come at a time when the police budget is being cut.
It says police are being pulled in too many directions and it is not fair to blame them for a lack of progress.