Auckland: This evening New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has advised the Governor-General to dismiss Stuart Nash from all his ministerial portfolios.
Late this afternoon Chris Hipkins was made aware by a news outlet of an email Stuart Nash sent in March 2020 to two contacts regarding a commercial rent relief package that Cabinet had considered.
In the email, he sets out both his opposition to the decision Cabinet reached and the position that other Cabinet members took.
This is a clear breach of collective responsibility and Cabinet confidentiality.
Stuart Nash has fundamentally breached Chris Hipkins’ trust and the trust of his Cabinet colleagues and his conduct is inexcusable.
In addition, the two recipients of the email were donors; Troy Bowker and Greg Loveridge, via GRL Holdings Ltd, have both donated to Stuart Nash.
They are also commercial property owners who had an interest in the Cabinet decision.
That crosses a line that is totally unacceptable to Chris Hipkins.
Chris Hipkins expects Ministers to uphold the highest ethical standards and his actions raise perceptions of influence that cannot stand.
In recent weeks Chris Hipkins has sought and been given assurances from Stuart that there were no other instances or allegations of misconduct that he should be aware of.
While Stuart was on a final warning, Hipkins want to be clear that this incident would have resulted in his dismissal in its own right. Hipkins considers the matter to be a very serious one.
Minister Megan Woods will be the Acting Minister for Economic Development and Acting Minister of Forestry, and Minister David Parker will be Acting Minister for Oceans and Fisheries.
Meka Whaitiri will lead the Hawkes Bay Cyclone response on an acting basis.