Justice Minister, Kiri Allan, has been charged with reckless driving and resisting arrest following a car crash in Wellington last night.
In a statement released by Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins this morning, he confirmed the Minister had been taken into custody by Police after the crash on Evans Bay Parade at around 9pm.
“She was taken into custody and held in the Wellington Central Police station. She was released around 1am this morning,” the Prime Minister said.
“She also returned a breath test over the legal limit but at a level considered an infringement offence. Police have not pressed charges in relation to that.”
The Prime Minister described her actions as “inexcusable”.
“I’ve been advised she was experiencing extreme emotional distress at the time of the incident. Her recent personal struggles with mental health have been well documented and it appears some of those issues came to a head yesterday,” he said.
“I have spoken with her first thing this morning and advised her I do not believe she’s in a fit state to hold a Ministerial warrant.
“I believe it’s also untenable for a Justice Minister to be charged with criminal offending.”
In a separate statement this morning, Ms Allan has tendered her resignation.
“She’s advised me 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,” said Mr Hipkins.
“I recently provided Kiri the opportunity to address her mental health issues. After taking some time out I believed she was okay and was assured by her she was.”
He said last night’s incident illustrated that there are “not always quick fixes” when it comes to mental health.
“…the best thing for Kiri right now is to focus on her whanau and her wellbeing away from Parliament.
“I don’t provide this detail to diminish her actions, they were indefensible, but to provide context for the distressed circumstances she found herself in when the incident occurred.
“I will confirm the reallocation of her portfolios later today,” he said.