“He interfered, he boasted about it, and then he doubled down on it. That’s three strikes and Stuart Nash should be out,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Under Chris Hipkins’ watch a Minister can show complete disregard for the Cabinet Manual, boast about it on primetime radio, double down on it and laugh it off, and still remain a Minister.

“Chris Hipkins has shown how low his standards are, much lower than John Key’s and David Cunliffe’s back when Maurice Williamson resigned for a lesser offence nine years ago.

“I asked him in Parliament how he can have confidence in a Minister who broke one of the most sacred rules in the Cabinet Manual, went on the radio and boasted about it, and then refused to apologise for it. The PM said that Nash has “paid a price”.

“Shouldn’t the Prime Minister be less worried about people ‘paying a price’ like a naughty schoolkid, but instead ensuring all Ministers are competent and have high integrity? Nash has shown he fits neither description.

“He thinks he can laugh off a serious breach of constitutional conventions by saying he was “chewing the fat with a mate.” Actually he was breaking the law and the Cabinet Manual while he was doing it.

“Nash is unfit to be Minister for Economic Development, Forestry, or Oceans and Fisheries either. Stripping him of just his Police portfolio doesn’t do justice to what a serious breach this is.

“The irony is that Nash’s defence was that he wasn’t Minister of Police at the time of his offence. Hipkins’ weak response is to make sure he again isn’t the Minister of Police.

“Like most parts of the New Zealand economy Labour is facing a serious skills shortage, but surely it’s not so bad that they have to hang on to Nash in any ministerial capacity.”

More from

David Seymour