National Party Leader Simon bridges says today's dumping of Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri shows more weak leadership by the Prime Minister, leading to a weak Government which is "coming apart at the seams".
Less than a year in Government, two ministers are now gone after Jacinda Ardern today axed Ms Whaitiri following a Ministerial Services report on an incident last month in which she was alleged to have assaulted a staff member during an event in Gisborne.
It comes after the MP was accused of assaulting a staff member in Gisborne.
Source: 1 NEWS
Clare Curran quit her remaining ministerial roles about two weeks ago after being rattled in Parliament over questions about her use of personal email for Government business, and having already been stripped of two portfolios over undeclared meetings.
Mr Bridges says today's sacking of Ms Whaitiri is more weak leadership leading to a weak government.
"I mean we've not had a ongoing series of chaos and sagas, whether it's been Curran, now Whaitiri, and of course managing or not managing as the case may be Winston Peters," the National Party leader said.
"The Prime Minister has to take responsibility for that weak leadership. If we look at Meka Whaitiri, what's happened here is very clear. Nothing has changed. She's known the facts about an alleged incident now for week, but just like with Curran she has dithered and mucked around and she should have dealt with this much more early," he said.
Ms Whaitiri will stay on as the MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti and Mr Bridges says that's a question for the Prime Minister.
"I think the reality is she still has leadership roles here. She's still chairing a caucus committee, and that's not good enough," he said.
"Still there's basic questions that I'm sure the Prime Minister knows but she won't answer, like whether there's been other incidents, what has happened here. She should have got to the bottom of this and dealt with this a long time ago."
Mr Bridges said Ms Ardern has not been strong enough on the matter.
"This has been weak leadership and weak government. It's why we're seeing the Government coming apart at the seams, you know around two ministers in a couple of weeks, around a coalition where they can't get agreement on basic things, this is yet more evidence of something that could have been dealt with decisively and strongly but has been weak," Mr Bridges said.