New Zealand’s justice minister resigns after being charged with resisting arrest

Sydney, Australia, Jul 24 (EFE).- New Zealand’s justice minister resigned on Monday after she was charged with careless driving and resisting arrest following a car crash in Wellington.

Following the 9pm incident on Evans Bay Parade, Allan spent four hours in police custody before she was released, according to a statement by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on Monday.

New Zealand police confirmed that, following a crash on Evans Bay Parade, a person had been “charged with careless use of a motor vehicle, and refusing to accompany a police officer, and summonsed to appear in court at a later date.” It added that an infringement notice was also issued for excess breath alcohol between 250 and 400mcg.

Hipkins said she spoke to Allan, also minister for regional development, on Monday morning and she said “she wishes to resign all her portfolios immediately, is heading home, and taking time to consider her future in politics. I’ve accepted that resignation.”

The prime minister “advised her I do not believe she’s in a fit state to hold a ministerial warrant,” he said, stressing that he considers it “untenable for a justice minister to be charged with criminal offending.”

Hipkins said that while Allan’s actions were “inexcusable,” he also pointed out that the politician had recently been dealing with “mental health issues.”

Coming to prominence under the Labour government of Jacinda Ardern, who described her as “remarkable,” Allan was considered a rising star after steering New Zealanders through a March 2021 tsunami alert and evacuation the same day as she was diagnosed with stage-three cervical cancer, for which she then took medical leave.

In recent months she had been through a public split with her journalist partner and reports had surfaced of poor working relationships with staff. Allan took time off work for mental health reasons, but had returned to work last week, and Hipkins said she had assured him she was “okay.”

“Last night’s incident is evidence there are not always quick fixes when it comes to mental health, and the best thing for Kiri right now is to focus on her whanau (family) and her wellbeing away from parliament,” said Hipkins, who is expected to reallocate her portfolios later Monday.

In a statement, Allan said she was “very sorry” for her actions and was heading home to consider her future in politics.

“Over recent weeks I’ve faced a number of personal difficulties. I took time off to address those, and believed I was okay to juggle those challenges with the pressure of being a minister,” she said in a statement carried by public broadcasters. “My actions yesterday show I wasn’t okay, and I’ve let myself and my colleagues down.”

A ex-lawyer, Allan formerly held the emergency management and conservation portfolios.

She is the fourth person since March to leave the Cabinet of Hipkins, who is seeking to remain in office with the general election scheduled for Oct. 14. EFE


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