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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard



Question No. 1—Prime Minister

1. DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his Government’s statements and actions?

Rt Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Prime Minister): Yes.

David Seymour: How can Stuart Nash remain a Minister in his Government when he’s clearly unfit to be the Minister of Police, or are economic development, forestry, and oceans and fisheries just not that important to his Government?

Rt Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Stuart Nash has displayed an error of judgment in his communication with the commissioner of police and in criticising a decision of the judiciary, and he’s paid a price for that in that he’s no longer the Minister of Police.

David Seymour: Surely the challenge is not to ensure he’s paid a price but to ensure that all Ministers serving in his Government are competent and have high integrity; if Stuart Nash has had to pay a price for not being competent and having high integrity, how can he continue in this Government under all of those other portfolios?

Rt Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: As I’ve indicated, I believe that removing Stuart Nash from the role of Minister of Police is a proportionate response.

Nicola Willis: Why does the Prime Minister continue to have confidence in a Minister who has shown not one but two very grave errors of judgment?

Rt Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: As I indicated, I do believe that it was appropriate for there to be a consequence for Stuart Nash’s error of judgment. There has been one—he is no longer the Minister of Police.

David Seymour: Does the Prime Minister not see the irony that Stuart Nash’s defence was that he wasn’t the Minister of Police at the time of his offence, and the Prime Minister’s response is to make sure he’s not the Minister of Police again; does that mean he’ll reoffend again?

Rt Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: I’m confident that Stuart Nash won’t make that similar error of judgment again in the future.

Nicola Willis: Does the Prime Minister understand that this is not about meting out punishment; this is about who New Zealanders can trust to have the very significant responsibilities of a Minister of the Crown, and that Stuart Nash has not shown the judgment to be worthy of those responsibilities?

Rt Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: I’m certainly familiar with the expectations set out in the Cabinet Manual, and my own expectations of Ministers.

David Seymour: How can the Prime Minister have confidence in a Minister who, number one, broke one of the most sacred traditions in the Cabinet Manual, the Policing Act, and our constitutional conventions; number two, went on the radio and boasted about it; and, number three, refused to apologise—surely that’s three strikes and he’s out, or is this Government only tough on crime when it suits them?

Rt Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: As I’ve indicated, Stuart Nash demonstrated an error of judgment, and he has paid a price for that.

Nicola Willis: Is it the case that the Prime Minister is not only soft on crime but soft on Ministers too?

Rt Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: No. But I do want to acknowledge that, in many cases, when the members opposite refer to this Government as being soft on crime, they are, in fact, reflecting on decisions made by the Commissioner of Police about whether to investigate or prosecute individual cases—they’re criticising the very thing that there has been a consequence for in this House today.