Embattled Labour MP Meka Whaitiri will likely not be in Parliament this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
Despite the House returning from a two-week break on Tuesday, Ardern said the suspended minister would likely be working from her home constituency office throughout the week.
Whaitiri, who had been the customs minister, was stood down from all of her ministerial positions on Thursday night while an investigation is carried out into an issue between her and a staffer. …
It’s alleged a physical altercation took place between Whaitiri and a member of her staff, which other media has reported as an assault.
Different sources have offered differing versions of events, but all allege Whaitiri got physical during the confrontation after yelling at the staffer.
The press secretary was a new addition to the office, which Stuff understands has gone through an entire rotation of staff during Whaitiri’s time as minister. …
Ardern said she hoped the investigation would take “in the order of weeks”.
A simple employment investigation should not take weeks.
Did the Minister get physical with her press secretary? Yes/No. If, yes – sack.
If Whaitiri were to leave Parliament, it would spark a by-election in her Māori electorate of Ikaroa-Rawhiti.
It seems some in her caucus already believe she is unlikely to return to the executive, with Labour MP Peeni Henare telling Māori Television’s Te Kāea the situation could be an opportunity for up-and-comers within the party.
“For example, Willow-Jean Prime and Kiritapu Allan, who would make excellent ministers.
Not a good sign for her when her colleagues are already naming whom they want to replace her.