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Excuse after excuse made for ex Justice Minister

In brief
  • There were several warning signs in the lead up to Kiri Allan’s career ending crash. 
  • Doesn’t some blame lie with Hipkins? 
  • He knew the potential problems, bet on Allan and his own ability to monitor the situation, and failed.  
  • Was this about Hipkins trying to save some of his team instead of doing what was best for the country?

Kiri Allan’s dramatic fall from grace

Justice Minister Kiri Allan has resigned from her ministerial roles. Allan will not stand in the East Coast electorate come October, after crashing her car on Sunday, July 23rd, 2023, and being charged by police with “careless use of a motor vehicle and failure to accompany a police officer.” She was also “issued an infringement notice for having excess breath alcohol”. 

The former Justice Minister also left the scene of the crash, and police dogs were used to track her down.

NZ media call it “the night” that ended her career. Maybe nightmare is a better word.  

But what about Hipkins’ judgement. How could he not pick up on several warning signs? 

The dots were there to be connected

Allan’s career has been marked by well deserved praise, but there were issues as well. A top Cabinet Minister before the age of 40, she’d never even sat in opposition. 

The problems included questions raised about donations made by Meng Foon to Allan’s campaign. There were also inappropriate comments made at the RNZ leaving do of her ex-fiance, Māni Dunlop of, criticising RNZ’s treatment of their Māori reporters. She also faced public scrutiny for allegations she abused staff. 

Excuse after excuse made for ex Justice Minister - Centrist
News of the use of police canines to track down the ex-Justice Minister came as a shock to many. Image by 111 Emergency from New Zealand

Allan took mental health leave in June, citing personal circumstances on top of work pressures. It was suspected her break up with Dunlop was part of this. But she was back at work a week later. 

Hipkins continued to heap accolades on Allan, putting her back at full duties saying she was at the top of her game. Just a week before the car crash on 19 July 2023, Allan and Hipkins  publicly announced a new criminal offence specifically addressing ram-raid offending. 

Shouldn’t some of this tarnish Hipkins?

In the usual manner, some of the media were quick to praise Allan because they liked the way she handled the ram raid meeting. Easy enough to impress them, but what about Hipkins and his praise despite all the earlier red flags? Should Hipkins have been able to see cracks behind the scenes? By continuing with Allan, he was betting on his ability to do so. Or was he more concerned about supporting one of his star ministers in the lead up to the election?

Commentator Bryce Edwards says voters will judge Labour poorly if they feel that the decisions Hipkins made surrounding Kiri Allan were more about electoral calculation than doing the right thing.

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