“The Prime Minister needs to answer for his own office’s negligence in the Michael Wood airport shares debacle, his lack of knowledge of Michael Wood’s repeated failures is either another convenient mistake or serious wilful ignorance,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Who knew, who failed to tell the Prime Minister, why was this culture of wilful ignorance allowed to continue? Once we know the answer to this, then the question needs to be what other transgressions are hiding away, and why isn’t Hipkins demanding to know about them?

“After the Stuart Nash saga, when the Prime Minister’s office failed to pass on crucial information about Minister Nash’s dodgy donor emails, Hipkins should have demanded that staff turn over every stone to ensure there were no more scandals. He himself said "I have made it very clear to my office that I expect to be alerted about any such matters should they arise and should my office become aware of them."

“It’s hard to fathom that it could be just another convenient mistake to not pass the airport shares information on to him. Is it really possible that throughout the 12 conversations the Cabinet office had with Wood’s office, the PM and his staff weren’t informed once?

“Whether its incompetence, ignorance or something more serious, it can’t continue. The PM can’t keep hiding behind the excuse of people not telling him things, if he’s comfortable with this continuing to happen then that is disastrous for public accountability itself.

“The question of Wood being a Minister is no longer a matter of ‘life admin’ as Chris Hipkins has put it. It is a matter of whether people can trust the New Zealand Government to be open and transparent about who it serves. The PM’s negligence in having the slightest clue about what is going on around him further erodes public trust.

“He can’t expect Kiwis to continue believing his bumbling Government is continually falling victim to the most convenient set of mistakes in the history of New Zealand politics. It’s time for real change.”

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