One Question Quiz
Chris Hipkins and Kiri Allan
Chris Hipkins and Kiri Allan

The BulletinJuly 25, 2023

A ministerial career over and a government under pressure

Chris Hipkins and Kiri Allan
Chris Hipkins and Kiri Allan

Kiri Allan’s resignation yesterday is being described as a sad demise. It’s also prompted a flurry of opinion about where it leaves Labour less than three months out from the election, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.

The Kiri Allan story

Following Kiri Allan’s resignation yesterday after news broke that she will face charges after crashing her car on Sunday night, Toby Manhire has astutely compiled the facts of yesterday’s events and the leadup to them. Manhire has also reflected on a politician who overcame immense personal challenge to achieve meteoric success as a parliamentarian. The Herald’s Claire Trevett (paywalled) has a similar reflection writing that Allan, “is perhaps more human than many: She was never a cookie-cutter politician. When she was good she was very good, but she made mistakes too. She has a staunch facade and some rough edges but she wears her heart on her sleeve, where it is easily bruised.”

Manhire has also done a special episode of Gone By Lunchtime which recounts what we know so far, and draws on comments made by Allan at a special Spinoff event reuniting the 2017 candidate diarists to reflect on an extraordinary political story.

24 hours of questions

Because we lack detail and a crystal ball, you can characterise commentary and opinion in the last 24 hours about Allan’s resignation as “questioning” and “spilt”, served with a side of “definitive” that may or may not hold up as time goes on. There are questions about prime minister Chris Hipkins’ judgement from Andrea Vance in The Post (paywalled) in allowing Allan to return to work when she did. There are questions from Newsroom’s Jo Moir about comments from National party leader Christopher Luxon suggesting Hipkins should have had a clinician sign off on her return. There are questions about what all this means for Labour’s election chances from Stuff’s Tova O’Brien and The Herald’s Audrey Young (paywalled). These are just a small sample and there’s a bit of a high-wire act in balancing how you feel personally about what Allan has been through and what’s happened and the political ramifications. It was good to see Newshub’s Amelia Wade talk to Allan’s constituents on the East Coast. There is still a lot of dust to settle but Hipkins moved quickly to try and recalibrate, reallocating Allan’s portfolios yesterday.

Another reshuffle

First-term minister Ginny Andersen will take over the justice portfolio and continue to hold her police role. Hipkins said aligning the two portfolios would be “important in the coming weeks as we progress ram raid legislation to ensure young offenders face more accountability for their crimes”. It is unusual for these portfolios to be aligned given the possible conflicts of interest but Annette King held both in 2007/2008. Deborah Russell will pick up an associate justice minister role to manage any conflicts. Kieran McAnulty will become the minister for regional development. He already holds the emergency management, local government, racing and rural communities portfolios. Grant Robertson, who is cyclone recovery minister, will take over the lead coordination role for Tairawhiti and Bay of Plenty.

Auckland harbour crossing decision delayed

Unrelated to the necessary reshuffle that resulted following Allan’s resignation, David Parker has relinquished the revenue portfolio. Parker admitted last week that he was “disappointed” in the prime minister’s decision to kill off a proposed tax switch, saying it was something he personally supported. The prime minister said Parker requested to pass on revenue to Barbara Edmonds, “freeing him up to focus on transport.” Parker picked up the transport portfolio after Michael Wood resigned. These resignations and reshuffles are creating delays in decision-making. BusinessDesk’s Oliver Lewis reported yesterday (paywalled) that work on the additional harbour crossing in Auckland had been delayed, in part due to the need for Parker to get up to speed with it and other issues in his portfolio. The government was due to confirm its preferred option for the additional crossing in June.

Keep going!