June 24, 2024
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New Zealand justice minister Kiri Allan out of office after resisting arrest after car crash | New Zealand

New Zealand’s justice minister resigned on Monday after police charged her with reckless driving and resisting arrest following a car crash.

Kiri Allan was involved in the crash shortly after 9pm on Sunday in Wellington, prime minister Chris Hipkins said, and was detained at the central police station before being released four hours later.

Police have charged her with careless use of a motor vehicle, refusing to accompany a police officer, and a summons to appear in court at a later date. Allan was issued with a breach notice for excess breath alcohol between 250 and 400mcg.

The incident involving Allan was the latest in a series of missteps and scandals involving government ministers less than three months out from national elections. Polls suggest the conservative opposition has leveled or moved slightly ahead of the incumbent Liberals in what promises to be a close race.

Once considered a rising star in the Labor party, Allan recently took time off for her mental health after being involved in a public split with her party and allegations of a poor working relationship with staff.

Hipkins said he spoke to Allan on Monday morning and told her he thought she was not fit to remain minister and that it was not possible to charge a justice minister with criminal offences. She agreed and resigned from her ministerial role, Hipkins said.

To this day, Allan is still a member of parliament.

“While her alleged actions are unacceptable, I have been advised that she was experiencing emotional distress at the time of the incident,” Hipkins said. “His recent personal struggles with mental health have been well documented and it seems like some of those issues came up yesterday.”

Allan said she was sorry for her actions and was going home to consider her future in politics. “In recent weeks I have had some personal difficulties. I took time off to face those, and I believed I was okay with dealing with those challenges with the pressure of being a minister,” she said in a statement. “My actions yesterday show that I was not okay, and I let myself and my colleagues down.”

Last month, transport and immigration minister Michael Wood resigned after failing to disclose a potential conflict of interest with his stock. In March, police minister Stuart Nash was sacked after it emerged he had given confidential information to donors. In May, customs minister Meka Whaitiri was sacked after switching allegiance to another political party.

Hipkins took over as prime minister in January following the resignation of her predecessor Jacinda Ardern. The New Zealand elections will take place on 14 October.

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