In a surprising turn of events, Justice Minister Kiri Allan has tendered her resignation as a Cabinet minister after being involved in a car crash in Wellington and subsequently charged with reckless driving and resisting arrest.
The incident occurred on Evans Bay Parade in Wellington at around 9 pm last night, and Allan was taken into police custody for questioning.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed the charges and stated that Allan was released from custody at 1 am on Monday. The police report indicates that Allan’s vehicle was involved in a crash with another car, resulting in a brief road blockage, but fortunately, no injuries were reported.
In addition to the driving-related charges, an infringement notice was issued to Allan for having excess breath alcohol levels between 250-400 micrograms (mcg) per litre of breath. Despite this, she will not face separate charges related to the breath test.
Prime Minister Hipkins, while acknowledging the gravity of Allan’s alleged actions, expressed concern over her emotional distress at the time of the incident. Noting her documented struggles with mental health, he deemed her unfit to hold a ministerial warrant. Consequently, Allan has stepped down from her ministerial role and is heading back to the East Coast to contemplate her political future.
In a statement, Allan expressed remorse for her actions, stating that she was facing personal difficulties in recent weeks, and despite taking time off to address them, she now realizes she was not in a proper state of mind. The Justice Minister’s resignation has raised questions about her suitability to continue serving as a minister while dealing with personal challenges.
This incident marks a significant setback for Allan, who had recently returned to her ministerial duties after taking time off due to a relationship break-up and facing allegations concerning her treatment of staff, which she firmly denied. While her colleagues and opposition leader David Seymour express sadness over the situation, there are calls for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Allan’s return to work following her mental health leave.
As Allan reflects on her future in politics, Prime Minister Hipkins will reassign her ministerial portfolios, which include justice, regional development, associate finance, and associate transport. This situation poses challenges for the government and raises concerns about the impact of personal struggles on the responsibilities of high-profile officials.