Minister Kiri Allan will return to work on Monday and resume her full duties, the Prime Minister has announced.
In a statement, PM Chris Hipkins said he had met with Minister Allan to discuss her recent leave and allegations made against her
“Kiri has had a rough time lately, both personally and at work, and I’m pleased she is in a much better space after taking some time off and getting some professional support,” he said.
“Mental wellbeing should never be a source of shame or embarrassment. I commend Kiri for speaking publicly about her recent struggles and I’ve been resolutely committed to supporting her through that.
“Mental health challenges can confront any of us. It’s important we create an environment where people can speak openly about that and get any help they need.”
The Prime Minister described Ms Allan as a talented Minister who makes a huge contribution to the government.
“It’s important we have a diversity of views, voices and experiences around the Cabinet table and Kiri’s recent experiences only adds to that,” he said.
“In our discussions, Kiri did acknowledge that in her passion for her work she sets high standards and high expectations of herself and her staff, but staff and officials must be treated with respect, and there is clear guidance for MPs around that. Kiri agrees with me on that.
“Coming to grips with being a Minister can be tough, especially in the first year. When you add the fact Kiri has battled and overcome cancer in that time plus some personal challenges it’s understandable that she was feeling under pressure.
“Regardless, I’ve made my expectations to Ministers around their conduct crystal clear and Kiri has agreed to focus on the way she interacts with those around her and make improvements where necessary. I expect all Ministers to do the same.”
Mr Hipkins said that when Minister Allan returns to work, she will receive additional coaching to support her to create a positive working environment.
In a shared statement with the PM, Minister Allan thanked the Prime Minister, her colleagues, friends and members of the public who have offered her support in recent weeks.
“It’s been a really tough time for me lately and I’ve really appreciated all the aroha that’s come my way. It’s helped me to get through and I know I can come out of this a stronger and better person,” she said.
“I’m absolutely passionate about my work and the difference I can make for my community and for Aotearoa.
“I apologise to anyone who has found my behaviour towards them unacceptable. I will also offer that apology personally to anyone who wants to talk to me individually.
“I want to create a working environment where we set high expectations and work hard to achieve them. But I’ll be working extra hard to make sure those around me know and see how much I appreciate them and value the work they do.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to work and focussing on the important tasks we have ahead,” the Minister said.
On her Facebook page, the Minister said she had mentally “hit a wall a few weeks ago”.
“I kept going, showing up to events, smiling, giving speeches. But about a week ago, I had to be pretty honest with myself that I needed to put my mental well-being at the forefront of my focus,” she said.
“I’m feeling a lot better now – and if there’s anything I could share with anyone struggling at the moment – it’s to reach out, to friends, family and anyone that can help you to get the help you need.”
* Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.
* The Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions).
* Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or online chat.
* The Lowdown Text 5626 for support to help young people recognise and understand depression or anxiety.