June 21, 2023
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins left frustrated and flummoxed over Michael Wood saga
From Te Whare Paremata:
Michael Wood has resigned as a Cabinet minister after new failures to disclose conflicts of interest related to shareholdings emerged.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says the resignation comes after he made it clear to Wood that remaining as a Minister under these circumstances is untenable.
Wood is the second Minister to leave the Chris Hipkins cabinet after Stuart Nash was sacked in March.
The Prime Minister called an unscheduled press conference on Wednesday afternoon to announce Wood’s resignation which comes a day after he says he learnt of the new conflicts of interest.
“I still don’t understand how after all this period of time, over two years with the cabinet office, asking him to attend to those matters, we’re still in this position.”
“In the last few weeks even, the fact that more information has come to light, is still something that I do not understand”. says the Prime Minister.
The original failure to declare a conflict of interest was to do with Wood’s shares in Auckland Airport.
In this latest saga, its revealed Wood’s family trust also held shares in Chorus, Spark and the National Australia Bank.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins believes Wood to have been a conscientious and hardworking Minister. He remains as the Member of Parliament for Mt Roskill, but it’s unclear as to whether or not he will continue on and contest the seat in October.
In the meanwhile, Wood’s portfolios have been distributed amongst his senior colleagues, Carmel Sepuloni takes over Workplace Relations and Safety, as well as Minister for Auckland. Andrew Little takes Immigration, David Parker Transport and Kiritapu Allen is Associate Minister of Finance.